1) Seattle's Explosive Plays
The Seattle Seahawks offense plays with terrific balance and can apply stress to a defense in multiple ways. The most effective and momentum-draining characteristic quarterback Russell Wilson applied to the Dolphins defense on Sunday was stretching the field vertically using the passing game. Seattle had 12 explosive plays of over 11 yards, including a 37-yard completion to D.K. Metcalf on the second play of their first possession. Metcalf went on to have another monster outing, catching four passes for 106 yards, and averaging 26.5 yards. He came into the game averaging 25 yards per reception and with four plays of over 30 yards. That last stat leads the NFL and Metcalf was able to build on it against Miami's defense. The early, explosive pass plays set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Seattle's offense was able to strike consistently with big gains of 37, 35, 23, 21, two for 18 and one for 17. The Dolphins defense was able to apply pressure to Wilson, sacking him twice, but most times he was able to escape the pressure and find an open outlet to deliver the ball. Again, there were times that Seahawk receivers were running to open areas of the field, making it easy to run after the catch for chunk yardage plays.
2) Lack of Red Zone Success
The effort was never in question watching the Dolphins offense work on Sunday afternoon. But the lack of execution, especially in the red zone, wasn't clean enough up to beat one of the best teams in the league. Twice inside the 20-yard line the Miami offense had to settle for Jason Sanders chip-shot field goals (both from 29 yards out) and three times on the fringe of the red zone. Sanders was spectacular against Seattle and he's been perfect through the first four games of the year, but this group left too many opportunities and points on the field in a game that was a one-possession contest for most of the afternoon. This offense must quickly find a player or scheme that suits the skill set of their best players, and build plays around them. Throwing or attacking the end zone from the fringe of the 30 or 25 yard line just might be something to try, especially with the size of DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki. At worst, a pass interference call gets the football in position for a run or play action play call. I did like the addition of the wildcat formation using Lynn Bowden and Matt Breida. That might be a formation and scheme to build on for the remainder of the year. It's an easier way to run the ball inside the 10-yard line that puts pressure on the edge of a defense and with a player like Bowden that can throw it with efficiency.
3) Mental Breakdown Before Halftime
There's no excuse for what happened to the Dolphins defense just before halftime. The Miami offense just drove 48 yards in ten plays to make the score a one point game trailing 10-9. Only 24 seconds remaining and the ball placed at the 25-yard line. The home team has all of the momentum but the Seahawks get the ball to start the third quarter. I believe all Miami fans would have signed up for this scenario before the opening kickoff. What happened next on Sunday should never happen again to a professional football team. It's simply inexcusable for a defense to allow any offense to go four plays, 75 yards in just 21 seconds to grab a 17-9 lead. Get as deep as the deepest player on the field. I can still hear any coach tell all defensive backs at any level in this situation. Seahawks wideout David Moore probably couldn't believe that no one was within five yards of him as he ran down the Dolphins sideline all alone. The 57-yard gain completely drained the home team and led to an easy four-yard scoring strike from Wilson to former Hurricane running back Travis Homer. I do realize that there's still 30 minutes of football left to play, but this four play series was a gut punch the Dolphins didn't need to take. The defense came back out and responded with cornerback Xavien Howard recording his second interception of the season, but it didn't take away the seven points scored before halftime, in a game that was a one score contest for the majority of the second half.