Photo credit: Miami Dolphins
Through one month of the 2020 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins have proven that they can trade blows with the league’s best. The problem is getting over the hump.
Miami fell to 1-3 on Sunday with a hard-fought 31-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Dolphins never led in the contest, but had chances to take the lead against Seattle. They just could not cash in.
As is customary, we look back on what went right and what did not on Sunday.
Since the first two weeks of the season, the Miami defense has improved dramatically. Although Seattle scored 31 points on Sunday, that was still a season-low for the Seahawks and 14 of those came off turnovers.
Defensively, the Dolphins got to Russell Wilson twice for sacks. They held the Seahawks’ ground game to fewer than 100 yards and less than four yards per carry. Emmanuel Ogbah had a sack and two tackles for loss for the Dolphins.
For the early parts of the game, Miami did a good job of bending without breaking. Miami turned away Seattle in the red zone twice without points. After getting a fourth down stop late in the first half, Xavien Howard intercepted Wilson in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half. It marked Howard’s second straight game with an interception.
Although quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins with 47 yards rushing on six carries, Miami went over 100 yards as a team and averaged nearly five yards per carry.
Wide receiver DeVante Parker had his best game of the season with game-highs of 10 catches for 110 yards. Fitzpatrick left much to be desired, but still eclipsed the 300-yard mark passing for the second time in three weeks. Miami was 7-for-13 when it came to converting third downs and possessed the ball for more than 33 minutes.
Kicker Jason Sanders has still yet to miss this season. He was 5-for-5 on field goals on Sunday with a long of 45 yards.
When all was said and done in Miami, it was a day of missed opportunities for the Dolphins. Against a high-scoring Seattle offense, Miami kicked five field goals and didn’t find the end zone until the final two minutes.
After the Dolphins pulled to within a point late in the second half, a coverage bust allowed Wilson to find David Moore for a 57-yard completion. Two plays later, Seattle was in the end zone to extend the lead to 17-9.
As a unit, the defense still gave up 441 yards to the Seahawks — a season-high for Seattle. They forced just two punts.
Fitzpatrick finished with 315 yards passing and a rushing touchdown for the Dolphins, but two critical interceptions led to 14 points for the Seahawks. The Dolphins also failed to finish drives, settling for a pair of field goals in the red zone when a touchdown would have tied the game of given them the lead.
With the score 31-23 late and the Dolphins owning three timeouts, Miami was unable to stop the Seahawks from picking up the game-sealing first down. Seattle didn’t commit a single accepted penalty in the contest. The Dolphins had just two offensive plays go for 20 yards.
With Sunday’s loss, Miami falls to 1-3 on the young season. The Dolphins remain in third place in the AFC East behind the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Miami is currently two games behind the Cleveland Browns for the No. 7 seed in the AFC.
After another hard-fought loss, things won’t get easier for Miami. The Dolphins will make the long trip to take on the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. San Francisco fell to 2-2 with Sunday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sunday’s contest out west begins at 4:05 p.m. ET. It will be shown regionally on CBS.