Three things we learned from Seahawks' debacle
I. Russell Wilson is the most consistent thing the Seahawks have right now.
Hard to imagine that would be the case back in September when the biggest concern among fans was whether this rookie quarterback was holding his team back. He completed 16 consecutive passes in one stretch of Sunday's game, an NFL rookie record, but that's only part of the story. In his last four games, which include two on the road, he is 74-for-105 passing for 821 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted once. That's a passer rating of 118.
II. Seattle's rush defense is now a full-fledged problem.
When Frank Gore rushed for 92 yards in the second half of Seattle's loss at San Francisco last month, it was chalked up to scheme. The 49ers ran a trap play that Seattle didn't adjust to adequately. When Adrian Peterson gained 182 yards on the ground two weeks later, it was a testament to Peterson's MVP-caliber comeback. But when Miami gains 189 yards on the ground? Well, that's a pretty sure sign of a serious problem. The Dolphins hadn't rushed for more than 100 yards in a game as a team since September yet Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas averaged more than 6 yards per carry against the Seahawks. The numbers tell the story of a pretty steep decline for Seattle's defense:
|at Arizona||43||at Carolina||82||vs. Minnesota||243|
|vs. Dallas||49||vs. New England||87||vs. New York Jets||84|
|vs. Green Bay||84||at San Francisco||175||at Miami||189|
|at St. Louis||75||at Detroit||84|
III. No defense for the fourth quarter
Seattle is now batting .400 when it needs one stop to seal the game or force overtime. That's a great average in baseball, but it might turn out costing the Seahawks a playoff berth. Seattle's defense has given up a game-winning score in the final 5 minutes of its losses at Arizona, at Detroit and now at Miami. The Seahawks did manage to shut the door on New England and Carolina, but if coffee were for closers -- as Alec Baldwin clearly stated in "Glengarry Glen Ross" -- then the Seahawks are sipping on tea.
Three things we're still trying to figure out
I. Why Seattle didn't attempt two long field-goal opportunities in the first half?
Seattle passed up field-goal attempts of 53 and 55 yards during the first half of Sunday's game as coach Pete Carroll opted to punt instead. "It was too far for us," Carroll said when asked about field-goal possibilities. Both of the punts were downed inside the Miami 10 so it worked out like Carroll wanted, but with Seattle losing by three, it's going to inspire more than a few second guesses about why Seattle didn't try for three. Kicker Steven Huaschka has made four of eight field-goal attempts of more than 50 yards in his career. His longest kick this season was a 52-yard field goal at San Francisco on Oct. 18, the same game in which he missed a 51-yard attempt. After the game, Carroll sounded like the big choice wasn't about attempting a 55-yard field goal in the second quarter, but whether to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Miami 38 in the second quarter. "There was a reason why I didn't," Carroll said. "We were playing good enough, we thought if we put them backed up again, we might be able to make a play."
II. Why has Seattle's defense declined so precipitously?
It's tough to figure. Seattle has had only one defensive starter miss a game because of injury, and that was K.J. Wright, who was back in the lineup Sunday. The decline is unmistakable, though. Seattle allowed a total of two fourth-quarter touchdowns in its first seven games. The Seahawks have given up two in their past four. Miami finished with 435 yards of total offense, which was the most for any NFL team in during regulation on Sunday.
III. When Seattle is going to use Walter Thurmond?
He was inactive for a second consecutive game since being added to the 53-man roster while Marcus Trufant was picked on specifically during Miami's final drive. The Dolphins' two largest gains came on plays in which Davone Bess was defended by Trufant, who simply couldn't stay with the Dolphins' slot receiver. No doubt Trufant was the soft spot in Seattle's secondary on Sunday. Now the question is what the Seahawks intend to do about it.