Jason Sanders connected on five field goals to extend his streak to nine consecutive makes to open the 2020 season. Unfortunately, for Miami, field goals were not enough to beat Russell Wilson and the explosive Seattle offense.
|3rd and 4th Down Conv.||7/13||4/10|
|Time of Possession||33:09||26:51|
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 29-of-45 passes (64.4 pct.) for 315 yards. It was his second 300-yard game of the season.
However, the offense struggled in the red zone and Fitzpatrick said that the quarterback's job to execute becomes even more critical down in the red zone, something the Dolphins weren't able to accomplish Sunday.
"That was the story of the day. Being able to move the ball effectively and not do anything in the red zone," Fitzpatrick said. "Red zone execution really falls on the quarterback so I walk away feeling terrible about that. I felt guys played well enough to win and I didn't. If your quarterback doesn't play up to his ability, you're not going to win a lot of games in this league."
Earlier, Seattle opened the scoring just five minutes into the game after a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass was tipped and intercepted on Miami's first series. Wide receiver D.K. Metcalf caught a 37-yard pass from Wilson to set up the touchdown, but the Dolphins would battle back.
Four Dolphins players were injured but returned to the game in safety Bobby McCain, defensive end Shaq Lawson, left tackle Austin Jackson and wide receiver DeVante Parker. Parker's first series back in the game produced back-to-back catches – with a pair of broken tackles – for 27 yards. Parker finished the game with 10 receptions and 110 yards, his first 100-yard game of the season.
"I'm always going to rely on (Parker) in tough situations," Fitzpatrick said. "He made some plays in one on one and he did some good things versus zone coverage. He's a big part of what we do and it was good to get him back in the game today."
Sanders would connect on one of his five field goals leaving the Seahawks offense with only 29 seconds to operate before halftime.
Two plays after Seattle took possession, Wilson found David Moore down the sideline for a 57-yard pass completion. Seattle would score on a Wilson pass to running back Travis Homer two plays later to extend the halftime lead to 17-9. Flores spoke about the play after the game."As far as that particular play, we didn't play it well at all. We were out of position," Flores said. "That's what happens, especially against a good quarterback. You make one wrong step and guys get open and he found them."
Receiving the second-half kickoff, Seattle threatened to take a two-score lead a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Two plays later, Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard undercut a slant by Metcalf and intercepted the pass in the end zone -- his second in as many weeks.
"Coaches put me in a great position and I just ended up making a play," Howard said. "It wasn't good enough to win the game, though. I'm focused on winning, not just a one-on-one matchup."
Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins put together another long drive covering 55 yards, but would again settle for a field goal. The defense continued its strong start to the half forcing a three-and-out courtesy of a Shaq Lawson sack. Lawson chased Wilson down in the backfield and was able to get the diminutive quarterback to the ground.
The sack was the first for Lawson as a Dolphin, while fellow offseason addition at defensive end, Emmanuel Ogbah, picked up his second of the season on a fourth-down play in the second quarter. Ogbah made four additional tackles including one for a loss on the play prior to the Lawson sack.
"My job is to set the edge, make tackles and make plays for this team," Ogbah said. "Coach Boyer had a great game plan and I felt like a play needed to be made and I stepped up."
The Dolphins defense held up as long as it could by limiting Seattle – who entered the game with the NFL's second-highest points per game (37.0) average – to only 17 points on the first seven possessions of the game.
After Miami cut the lead to two, Seattle would answer with a 75-yard touchdown march sparked by a 30-yard completion from Wilson to Tyler Lockett. Needing two scores in less than five minutes, the Dolphins offense sped up the tempo and would turn the ball over for the second time in the game.
Seattle scored two plays later to make it a two-score game at 31-15. The Dolphins would find the end zone on the ensuing possession courtesy of a Fitzpatrick scramble. Sanders pounded his kick into the ground and put a member of the Seattle hands team in a position to catch the ball over his shoulder, which he did, successfully.
"Execution down in the red zone, that's what it boils down to" Flores said. "When you get down there the throwing lanes are tighter, the safeties are closer. Against a good team, you have to punch it in. We were close, but we didn't get in/ At the end of the day, three instead of seven adds up, especially against a team like that".
Seattle would convert a third down run three plays later. The officials checked on the play with a review and a measurement, but the call would stand and the Seahawks would go into victory formation.
The loss drops the Dolphins to 1-3. In each of the three losses, the Dolphins were either in the lead or within three points in the fourth quarter against three teams with a combined 9-1 record; three teams that were in the postseason a year ago.
Still, despite the positive direction, Fitzpatrick says it's not enough.
"We're 1-3. We're really disappointed at our record right now," Fitzpatrick said. "We continue to trend in the right direction but it's not helpful when you keep losing games. We're disappointed at 1-3, it's bad to have that record it's a good thing to see how upset guys are a tough loss."
Dolphins captain and center Ted Karras said this is an opportunity to prove the type of spirit and mettle this team wants to exhibit.
"Nothing breaks our spirit. We're out there fighting," Karras said. "We're 1-3 in close games and that sucks but we're going to keep fighting and keep grinding. The only way out of it is to keep working and that's what we're going to do, show up ready to work."
The Dolphins will get a chance to exercise that frustration next week against another good football team in the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.