5 Reasons Dolphins Lost in Seattle

Sep 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during a NFL game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 12-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during a NFL game at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 12-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

For the Dolphins, Sunday’s 12-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks was all too familiar. Their offense was abysmal, their defense folded when they needed them the most, and they squandered points—13 to be exact.

Heading into opening week, the Dolphins were the biggest underdogs in the NFL; not a single person gave them a shot. Going into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL with a rookie head coach, an enigmatic quarterback, and an organization known for its mediocrity, it’s clear why no one bet on the Fish. Yet, still, with just about four minutes remaining in the game, the Dolphins led the Seahawks 10-6.

And then, the Dolphins did what they do best: lose.

In most cases, in a tight ball game, you can pinpoint the result of a win or loss on one key moment or reason. In Sunday’s loss, however, there were several reasons why the Dolphins lost—five to be exact.

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In no particular order, here are the five reasons the Dolphins lost to the Seahawks:

1. Kenny Stills’s drop

Down 3-0 in the beginning of the second quarter, Kenny Stills—running alone deep in Seahawks secondary—dropped a beautiful pass by Ryan Tannehill, which would’ve been a 71-yard touchdown if completed and given the Dolphins the lead. The play, as demoralizing as it was at the time, proved its importance as the game progressed. Shortly after, Tannehill again had Stills open in the end zone on a long pass and overthrew him. You see how this works? In order to beat a Super Bowl-contender on the road, you convert the opportunity that is gift-wrapped by the opponent. Because it may be the only one you get.

2. Adam Gase

I hated the call. I understand what Adam Gase was trying to accomplish, but you cannot leave points on the board against a superior opponent. In his postgame interview, Gase simply answered, “we play to win,” when asked about the decision to go for it on fourth and inches from Seattle’s 17 yard line. “That’s what we’re going to do. So get used to it,” Gase continued firmly. “We’re going for it on fourth down. What did they do, go three-and-out the next series and we got the ball back?”

It’s nice to see a Dolphins’ head coach display confidence in his team, but it was asinine to watch the decision, along with the disorganization of the play call, fail so miserably. Sometimes, it’s ok to play it safe. In this case, Gase should’ve gone the conservative route and settled for the field goal. A tie game late in the first quarter is better than being down by 3 with the momentum shifting in the home team’s favor.

3. Missed field goal

There’s not much you can say here. It’s not often that an NFL kicker misses a 27-yard field goal. But it happened. Seahawks defender Cassius Marsh blocked the attempt, which would have tied the game at six apiece if converted, and the Dolphins squandered another scoring opportunity. Some put the blame on rookie guard Laremy Tunsil for allowing Marsh the opportunity to make the play, but Franks, who took the starting kicking job from Caleb Sturgis last training camp, kicked a low line drive—which is normally seen in attempts greater than 40 yards.

4. Offensive Line

Early in the game, the offensive line held its own against a good Seattle front seven. Through most of the first half, they countered every punch thrown by Seattle and landed a few of their own. At times, they got the running game going and, most surprisingly, allowed Ryan Tannehill time to throw. Then, the same old familiar problems that have haunted this unit for four straight seasons reared its ugly head.

Despite early success and only down by three points, Adam Gase and new offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen decided to completely abandon the run in the second half, allowing Seattle to pin their ears back and hunt Tannehill down like a dog. Tannehill was turned into a human piñata and was on the ground for most of the second half. In a blink of an eye, the Dolphins’ offensive line turned to its former self and surrendered five sacks.

5. Defense

For the most part, the Dolphins’ defense played great. Allowing just 12 points to a Seattle team that was fourth in total offense last season is impressive. The defense recorded three sacks on a shifty Russell Wilson and forced two turnovers. Newly acquired free agents Mario Williams (sack) and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (interception) had a nice coming out party, as well.

The Dolphins front seven—most notably defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips—played fantastic, holding the Seahawks rushing attack to 3.5 yards per carry. The Dolphins’ young secondary, along with rookie cornerback Xavien Howard, played better than expected against Seattle’s quick receiving corps. Although bailed out by several dropped balls, it was promising to see the defense’s most questionable unit play well in the face of adversity.

In Seattle’s two most critical drives of the game, however, the Dolphins’ defense collapsed. Nearing the end of the first half with the game tied, the Seahawks marched 84 yards down the field and kicked a field goal to take the lead at halftime. In the second half, after Ryan Tannehill scampered in for the go-ahead touchdown run on a designed QB draw, the stage was again set for disappointment.

As we’ve seen many times before, Russel Wilson, while nursing an injured ankle, led the Seahawks on a 14-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a touchdown throw to Doug Baldwin. That touchdown—Wilson’s second of the afternoon—turned out to be the deciding factor.


Despite a valiant effort against a much better opponent, the Dolphins don’t have time to hang their heads. Yes, they should’ve won this game. You could make a strong argument that the Dolphins lost Sunday’s game more than the Seahawks won it. But what’s done is done. For now, it’s time to move on. The journey, however, doesn’t get any easier for the Dolphins as they hit the road this Sunday to play divisional rival, the New England Patriots.

Against the Seahawks, the Dolphins proved that they could hang with one of the best teams in the NFL; Sunday they have the chance to show they can win against one. Lets just hope nothing gets in their way.