MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-21 loss to the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. Yes, the Seahawks lost. But it was not because of anything their rookie quarterback did.
“Everybody’s been saying on the road that Russell has been struggling,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He didn’t struggle today. He played like crazy.”
The craziest part of Wilson’s impressive performance was completing 16-consecutive passes during one stretch. That was one shy of tying the franchise record that Warren Moon set against the Raiders in 1998, and one more than Jim Zorn had against the Browns in 1980 and Matt Hasselbeck had against the Lions in 2009.
But there was more to his day than streaking. Wilson completed 78 percent of his passes (21 of 27) for 224 yards, and went to routes less traveled in throwing two touchdown passes – a 3-yarder to tight end Anthony McCoy to tie the game in the second quarter and a 4-yarder to fullback Michael Robinson to give the Seahawks a 14-7 lead in the third quarter. It was McCoy’s second TD catch of the season and Robinson’s first.
Put it all together and it made for a passer rating of 125.9.
The completion percentage was a season high, while the completions and passer rating were his second-best totals.
And it was needed on a day when the Dolphins’ defense did a number on the Seahawks’ running game, holding a ground game that had been averaging 142.4 yards to 96; and Marshawn Lynch, the NFL’s second-leading rusher, to 46 yards on 19 carries.
“Russell was really effective today,” Carroll said. “The running game wasn’t going and he kept us alive.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There were five offensive touchdowns scored, but let’s go with the latest what-did-he-just-do catch by Golden Tate that set up the Seahawks’ first touchdown. On a first-and-10 play, Wilson went to Tate along the sideline, and Tate went over falling cornerback R.J. Stanford to make the catch at the Dolphins’ 5-yard line.
“I don’t know how I did that,” said Tate, who had a team-high four catches for 56 yards. “But I’m the type of person I don’t know how many balls I’m going to get a game. So anything I can do to make a catch, I’m going to fight. I’m going to fight as long as I can to get to the ball. That was just what happened in that case. I never gave up.”
Defense: Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner appeared to ice the game when he intercepted Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter and the Seahawks leading 14-7. But before Wagner made his pick, free safety Earl Thomas made late contact with Tannehill. The roughing-the-passer penalty nullified the interception and gave the Dolphins a first down at the Seahawks’ 3. They scored on the next play to tie the game.
Thomas blitzed on the play and when he leaped to try and deflect the pass his momentum carried him into the quarterback.
“I don’t think there was any intent to do anything. He had to land somewhere,” Carroll said. “That was a very big call to make when a guy wasn’t intending to hit the quarterback.”
Special teams: Dan Carpenter kicked the game-winner – a 43-yard field goal on the final play. But Leon Washington ran himself into a tie for the NFL career record with his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was Washington’s eighth, tying the mark set by the Browns’ Josh Cribbs. It also was Washington’s first scoring return since 2010.
And, Wilson says he called it.
“To be honest with you, I called it,” he said. “I turned to two guys on my left and said, ‘He’s going to return it right here to the house.’ That’s Leon. I know he’s going to do something special. Every time he gets the ball, I truly believe that.”
ODD MOMENT OF THE GAME
With 1:40 left in the third quarter, and the Seahawks with the ball, the automatic sprinkler system kicked in. It looked like something out of that we-don’t-want-this-game-to-end commercial for Buffalo Wild Wings.
“I leaned over to Mike Rob (Robinson) and I told him, ‘I’ve seen a lot of things in my lifetime – my short lifetime – but I’ve never seen the sprinklers go off,’ ” Wilson said.
Linebacker Leroy Hill left the game in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle, but returned. The same with left guard James Carpenter, who left briefly after tweaking his left knee in the second quarter.
Carpenter started after missing the two previous games because of a concussion.
The loss dropped the Seahawks to 6-5. While they lost ground to the 49ers (8-2-1) in the NFC West, they didn’t fall behind in the race for the second wild-card playoff spot in the conference because the Buccaneers lost to the Falcons to also fall to 6-5. The Vikings also are 6-5, but the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker because of their win over Minnesota.
Wagner led the team with nine tackles, the seventh time in the past eight games that he has been the leader or tied for the lead. Wagner also had his first NFL interception.
The Dolphins’ Devone Bess caught seven passes for 129 yards, making him the third receiver this season to post triple digits against the Seahawks – all in the past six games.
The Dolphins gained the second-most yards (435) the Seahawks have yielded and the most rushing yards (189).
The Seahawks are now 6-18 in games following bye weeks, compared to 18-6 in games the week before their bye.
YOU DON’T SAY, DEFENSIVE EDITION
“I take the responsibility, because I’m a run-stuffer. So when teams run the ball, I point at me first.” – defensive end Red Bryant when asked about the Dolphins rushing for 189 yards
YOU DON’T SAY, OFFENSIVE EDITION
“I don’t know what their game plan was, but I know it worked.” – Lynch on the Dolphins holding him to a season-low 2.4-yard average