There are myriad reasons for today's loss. Let's examine them. It's a pity party, and you're all invited!
Aside from the Week 1 Loss to Arizona, that was the worst defeat of the Seahawks' season. Offensive ineptitude in the first half and defensive miscues in the second half spelled wholehearted disappointment for the Seahawks and their fans. The four or five fans in the Dolphins' stands were pretty happy though.
For the sake of this recap, I'm going to go over the three phases of the game, highlighting the good and bad (and very bad) of each. Forgive me if my usual insufferable optimism is gone, because that game was all kinds of awful. Keep in mind; however, that the Seahawks still have a wild-card lead over the Bucs, Vikings, and Lions, who are our main competition.
Before I begin, keep a few things in mind
1) I know that hindsight is 20/20
2) I don't pretend to know more than any coach on the Seattle Seahawks squad
3) I'm going to rant anyway
The offense was a tale of two-halves, or rather a tale of a bad half, most of a good half, and a HORRIBLE final three plays. The first two quarters of play were largely dominated by everyone's favorite muscle-hamster: Jon Ryan. Even though it is marvelous to see the golden leg kick things, punting blows. Marshawn Lynch couldn't buy a yard behind a line that looked overpowered. Max Unger and James Carpenter routinely got pushed into the backfield, killing run plays before they even got off the ground.
The one overall bright spot of the day was Russell Wilson. After a relatively slow start, Wilson went on to complete 16 straight passes, nearly breaking Warren Moon's consecutive completion record in the process. If not for a Doug Baldwin drop, he would've at least tied it. Wilson was keeping plays alive and delivering accurate balls, as well as rushing for consistently good gains.
The last series of the game was going well, until the last three plays. The Seahawks were about three/four yards outside of Steven Haushka's comfortable range (I'm of the opinion that any professional kicker ought to be able to hit a 57 yard field goal, but more on that later). A run play for negative yardage, an incomplete pass, and a screen play for negative yardage took the team entirely out of range. The intention is fine, but the fact that the Dolphins sniffed out those plays indicates that the playcalling was predictable. A quick slant or quick out route that takes advantage of the Dolphins' defensive vulnerabilities would've been much more preferable. We're well aware that negative yardage occurred on many Seahawks runs. Apparently Darrell Bevell wasn't.
Let's start with the good. Well, there isn't much to talk about, but Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner mostly did their jobs. Bobby Wagner had his first career interception, and was laying some hard hits down. Aside from a few notable occasions, tackling was solid today as well.
Now for the bad. The run defense today was horrendous. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas gashed the defense UP THE MIDDLE for Pete (Carroll)'s sake. If they weren't making Alan Branch look foolish, they were running outside to prove that Chris Clemons can't seal an edge. Overall, a pitiful effort against an average running game. Give the Dolphins credit: they trap blocked a lot. Apparently, even after San Francisco and Detroit picked apart Seattle with trap blocking, we still can't stop that type of run.
How about that pass defense? To start off, Ryan Tannehill was struggling mightily against the legion. But in the second half, he came alive like Tom freaking Brady and shred the defense for a comeback win. My theory is this: at halftime, Joe Philbin told Tannehill about these cool guys named Leroy Hill and Marcus Trufant, who were benevolent creatures that would always let you complete passes on them.
Want to know how guys got so open in those busted coverage situations late in the game? The linebackers/ nickel corner didn't know who was covering who. And when they did, they didn't play with the anticipation necessary to cover a speedy receiver like Davone Bess. What I mean by all this is that Marcus Trufant and Leroy Hill are liabilities. This has been a growing idea amongst Seahawks fans ever since people realized that we couldn't stop a 3rd and 11 conversion, like ever. If a rookie named Ryan Tannehill chooses to pick on Marcus Trufant when it comes crunch-time, that's rather obvious that he is a weak link in the defense. Leroy Hill has the same problem, but at least he is still big enough to play the run (sometimes). More will be coming later this week specifically breaking down reasons as to why the Seahawks need to draft a new LB to replace Hill and start Walter Thurmond III immediately.
The good in this is pretty obvious. After an inauspicious start, Leon Washington returned a kick for a touchdown!!!! WOOOOOOO! But we still lost. So meh.
The bad in this game comes in the form of field goals, or rather, lack thereof. Pete Carroll in the first half chose to punt and pin the Dolphins deep in their own territory twice when the Seahawks were in field goal range. Granted, they would've been long field goals. How nice would those points have looked on our scoreboard at the end of the game? Pretty nice. So here's my advice: sign a kicker to the biggest contract in kicker history so we can make every field goal under sixty yards. If that equates to one or two more wins a year, it's completely worth it.