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Seahawks vs. Dolphins: Final Grades, Analysis for Seattle

Will McDougleContributor ISeptember 30, 2016

Seahawks vs. Dolphins: Final Grades, Analysis for Seattle

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    The Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins have completed today's game.

    Final score: 24-21 Dolphins

    Quarter: 4th

    Scoring Plays:

    1. Reggie Bush 21 Yard Run (Dolphins)

    2. Anthony Mccoy 3 Yard Pass From Russell Wilson (Seahawks)

    3. Michael Robinson 4 Yard Pass From Russell Wilson (Seahawks)

    4. Daniel Thomas 3 Yard Run (Dolphins)

    5. Leon Washington 98 Yard Kickoff Return (Seahawks)

    6. Charles Clay 29 Yard Pass From Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins)

    7. Dan Carpenter 43 Yd  FG (Dolphins)

     

    Final Thoughts:

    This game was a huge disappointment for Seattle. From defensive containment issues, to poor playcalling on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball the result was hard to swallow.

    This puts the playoffs into the dream category for Seattle, and puts tremendous pressure on the Pete Carroll regime to finish the season strong.

    There's a difference between flash and substance and the Seahawks have plenty of flash. It's the substance that is keeping them from winning games they must win.

    Before you go, take a look at my final positional thoughts in the following slides.  

Quarterback

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    (All player and position grades begin the game at a "C" )

    Final Thoughts: Russell Wilson was everything for the Seahawks offense today. From his 21-27 224 yards, and 2 TDs, to his 38 clutch yards on the ground. The blame for this debacle can not be placed on Wilson at all. He was main reason game was close.

    4th Quarter Grade: B

    3rd Quarter Grade: A

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    1st Quarter Grade: C

    Keys to the game:

    1. Manage the game. The Seahawks may be facing a team with issues but one thing they do well is rush the passer and stuff the run. Miami pass rusher Cameron Wake is going to be an issue for Seattle all day long if Russell Wilson doesn’t get the Seahawks into manageable down and distances with savvy checks at the line of scrimmage. Wilson must diagnose and get the Seahawks into the right play or he’ll be in trouble.

    2. Expose Dolphins coverage. Miami Cornerback Nolan Carroll has struggled mightily this season and should be ripe for another beating. Russell Wilson would be smart to find Carroll and target him until he proves it’s not a good idea.

    Bottom Line: Wilson doesn’t have to be a beast for the Seahawks to win, he just needs to be careful with the ball and smart with his reads. Football doesn’t have to be hard, just find the matchup to exploit and go after it.

     

     

Offense

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     (All player and position grades begin the game at a "C" )

    Final Thoughts: The Seahawks game plan was abysmal, the offensive line was man handled and the result was a total destruction of what the Seahawks were trying to do. The Dolphins were ready for the inside zone, play action, and crossing routes. Russell Wilson was lone bright spot today.

    4th Quarter Grade: D

    3rd Quarter Grade: B

     2nd Quarter Grade: C

    1st Quarter Grade: F

     

    Keys to the game: 

    1. Find daylight. The Seahawks are well-rested and that’s a good thing. The Dolphins boast a run defense that prides itself with shutting down the run. That just happens to be what the Seahawks like to do most. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offensive line must fire out, and get movement on the Miami defensive front early on or it will have to be the Russell Wilson show.

     2. Screen game. The Seahawks have shown that they can utilize the screen game and have success and this game may require it. What they must avoid is relying on the receiver “alley” screen and try to add running back screens in the mix. The last thing the Dolphins want is Marshawn Lynch on the outside with a head of steam.

    3. Avoid turnovers. Road game failures usually come down to mental errors and the Seahawks seem to struggle with those away from Seattle. If the Seahawks can play error-free football this Dolphins team may crack under the pressure. Not doing so gives the Dolphins hope.

Defense

4 of 6

     (All player and position grades begin the game at a "C" )

    Final Thoughts: The Seahawks did a great job for the majority of the game in every aspect. Time and time again the defensive line collapsed the pocket and forced quick throws by Ryan Tannehill. Reggie Bush was a non factor for most of the game, but when they lost contain he burnt them badly.

    Late in the game, the Seahawks looked lost, continually went to a soft underneath zone and allowed Tannehill to pick them apart. Very confusing game plan late to say the least. This was just another example of defensive flash vs substance. The Seahawks seem to be caught in the middle.

    4th Quarter Grade: C

    3rd Quarter Grade: A-

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    1st Quarter Grade: A

    Explanation: Complete domination by the Seahawks in the first quarter. Middle Linebacker Bobby Wagner's ability to find the crosser on the Dolphins boot action led to the Seahawks only forced turnover of the game. Chris Clemon's sack was a great sign for a defense that looked tired heading into the bye week.

     

     

     

    Keys to the game: Defense

    1. Pressure. I’ve been saying for a while that the Seahawks late bye week was going to be rough for the defense. They have been asked to carry this team for the better part of the season and over the past few games the wear and tear had begun to show. This had a direct effect on the amount of pressure they could muster. With the Seahawks injury free and well rested, look for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to dial-up pressure and force Miami’s rookie QB Ryan Tannehill to fold under it.

    Easy Pressure Target: Miami RT Jonathan Martin

    2. Contain, Contain, Contain. Reggie Bush causes problems for teams because of his ability to bounce inside runs to the outside and beat contain to the corner. Seattle must play to the whistle and wrap and drive this man to the ground. When he bounces, the linebackers must be there to funnel Bush back into the teeth of the defense. If Reggie Bush gets free, he will put up yardage in bunches.

    3. Avoid Penalties. Avoiding turnovers is paramount for road teams, but right up there on the list is penalties. When you play a team that struggles on offense like the Dolphins have been, you can’t extend their drives with mental errors. If the Seahawks play tough and clean this game should be decided by the third quarter.

Special Teams

5 of 6

    (All player and position grades begin the game at a "C" )

     

    Final thoughts:

    Leon Washington's NFL record 8th kick return for a touchdown came at a great time. Credit to the kick return team for giving him a huge one-cut hole and nothing but green grass to the end zone. Jon Ryan was great again today and the punt and kick off teams came to play.

    4th Quarter Grade: A+

    3rd Quarter Grade: A-

    2nd Quarter Grade: A-

    1st Quarter Grade: A

     

    Keys to the game:

    1. Field position. This might be the biggest key for Seattle. If Seahawks stud punter Jon Ryan gets the opportunity to punt, his leg could be the difference in the game. The Dolphins are not designed to march up and down the field and pinning them deep gives the Seahawks offense even more opportunities to put points on the board.

Coaching

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    (All player and position grades begin the game at a "C" )

    Final Thoughts: Penalties, Penalties, and more penalties. These were killers for sure, but the biggest issue from a coaching standpoint was the refusal to utilize speed in the running game. The Dolphins are one of the better teams in the league at stopping inside runs yet the play calling stubbornly forced that very thing all day.

    From a defensive stand point, the decision to play soft underneath zones even when the pressure wasn't getting home was baffling and cost Seattle the game in the end. Very disappointing loss in what is probably the nail in the Seahawks playoff coffin.

    4th Quarter Grade: C

    3rd Quarter Grade: A

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    1st Quarter Grade: B

     

     

     Keys to the game:

    1. Preparation. When you have two weeks to study yourself as well as your upcoming opponent the fact is there is no excuse for a poor game plan. Head coach Pete Carroll and staff must develop a plan of attack that exposes the Dolphins many offensive weaknesses.

    2. Tempo.  For many reasons, the Seahawks rank near the bottom of the league on offense but Darrell Bevell plays a part on game day. Quick play calling means quicker huddles and more time for Russell Wilson to diagnose looks at the line of scrimmage.

    3. Be multiple. At this point the NFL knows what the Seahawks are. They are a powerful inside zone running team led by a savvy rookie QB and an elite level defense who specializes in coverage, run stuffing and pressure.

    On offense, the coaching staff must not allow players such as DE Cameron Wake and DT Randy Starks to disrupt with their penetration and must do so by varying their play calling. Balance equals unpredictable.

    On defense, Gus Bradley must ensure the one big Miami weapon never sees a clear lane to run and pays for attempts to bounce outside with several Seahawks defenders waiting to lay the hit.

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