The pregame for the 15th anniversary of September 11th started with an incredible show of unity, with linked arms of Seattle players, first responders, and military personnel. After that, it was typical Seahawks football- slow offensive start, coupled with key defensive stops. For the better part of the first half, Seattle split carries between Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael, with a lone FG from Steven Haushcka in the first quarter the only points. Cameron Wake, Ndomakung Suh and others kept the pressure on Seattle’s offensive line all game long, getting three sacks on Russell Wilson. Miami also recorded an interception later on in the game, when Wilson threw deep towards CJ Prosise. Prosise (according to some analysts), cut back inside after thinking he overran the route, allowing Abdul Quudus to make the pick.
Hauschka would kick another FG to give the ‘Hawks a 6-0 lead, before the Dolphins made a FG, making it 6-3 by halftime.
Collectively, the whole city of Seattle gasped when in the 3rd quarter; Ndonmakung Suh attempted to sack Wilson, who was executing one of his trademark spin moves to escape the pocket. As he did, Suh’s foot caught Wilson’s ankle, hyper-extending it. Wilson promptly crumpled to the ground, and clutched his foot. His next few plays were desperation side slung passes, short chunk plays, incomplete passes, or hand offs to Rawls and Michael. Wilson would fumble late in the 3rd quarter after Gary Gilliam was pushed back and stepped on the same ankle. Miami had plenty of opportunities to strike, but were plagued by dropped passes by Kenny Stills and others, even with Earl Thomas III missing many a tackle.
It was in the 4th quarter, that things began to come alive. Wilson was spotted walking up and down the sidelines, and found Jermaine Kearse later on for a 24-yard gain. Tannehill marched the Dolphins down to the red zone again, and they were forced to settle for a FG attempt. It was there that Defensive End Cassius Marsh (who whiffed earlier on an assignment to tackle Arian Foster that led to a 50-yard receiving pickup play), notched an instrumental play on special teams, blocking Andrew Franks at 10:45 left to play in the game. After a further three and out by Seattle, Tannehill marched back down the field again, running up the middle for a two yard score to make it 10-6, Miami with 4:00 to play.
Before the two-minute warning, Seattle converted two fourth downs in flashy style, with a run up the middle by Michael and later a 22-yard gain by Doug Baldwin. In the last 2:00, Wilson even took off up the middle for a 4-yard gain, shocking I’m sure a number of people at his ability to rush on a hobbled ankle. Tyler Lockett and Jimmy Graham (in his first snaps of football since his Patella Tendon injury last season) caught passes to move the team into the red zone.
As the seconds ticked by, both teams burned two timeouts by 1:00 to go in play. Doug Baldwin caught another pass that brought the ‘Hawks to the 2 yard line, but Christine Michael was unable to convert, so Seattle called the run play heard round the world, as Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Wilson called an audible at the line, and Wilson floated a short fade pass to Baldwin for the go ahead score. Hasuchka’s extra point would be blocked by Miami, and the score was a nail biting 12-10.
It wouldn’t have been too far back in fan’s memory to recall the late game collapse (aided by penalties against the ‘Hawks) the last time the two teams played. With just over: 30 to play, Seattle kicked off and the pressure collapsed in against Tannehill. Marsh fought through coverage and got a strip sack that went out of bounds, allowing the Dolphins to try and go deep down the field again with time expiring.
I know it’s only week 1, but the roar of the 12s was a welcome return to the Clink and fans watching from their living room or around the world. You could feel the intensity at the same level as the end of last season, and it doesn’t hurt that finishing, the aspect Seattle struggled with in the beginning of last season, was demonstrated here.
The defensive studs of the game were the aforementioned Marsh and Kam Chancellor, who prevented a key 4th down conversion with a spectacular tackle of Arian Foster late in the 1st quarter. Bam Bam Kam looks to be in good form.
Next, the ‘Hawks travel to Los Angeles, to play the Rams in the USC Coliseum, for what should prove to be yet again another slugfest between two strong defensive teams. Head Coach Pete Carroll appeared on ESPN 710 Seattle’s Brock and Salk, and succinctly waived any concerns about Wilson’s ankle. News reports and Twitter videos from practices this week show Wilsons mobility at a tremendous levels for someone who had a 300+lb defender step on it. Sunday’s game is shaping up to be one Seattle desperately wants to go 1-0 in, as the Rams got blanked by the 49ers in week 1 (and draw the Carolina Panthers this week), and the Cardinals lost to the Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski-less New England Patriots. A win here would put Seattle up 2-0 in the division, in what is going to be a key race for the NFC West crown, and home field advantage in the postseason.