Seneca Wallace was 21-of-38 for 185 yards with a touchdown for a passer rating of 77.2. Eliminate the drops, and Wallace has an additional touchdown pass and a passer rating near the century mark. For the second consecutive week, Wallace didn't turn the ball over. A groin injury in the 1st half limited Wallace's mobility, which is such an important part of his game. As a result, he was sacked three times and didn't have the confidence in his legs to use them to pick up the first down on the final 4th-and-10 play.
Running Backs: B
Mike Holmgren decided to stick with Julius Jones as the feature back, and after struggling in the first half, Jones went for 77 yards on his 11 second-half carries, which included a 35-yard run that set up a late 4th quarter touchdown. Rookie fullback Owen Schmitt had his most productive day as a pro, carrying the ball 3 times for 19 yards as a replacement for Leonard Weaver, who suffered a rib injury in the 2nd quarter. Maurice Morris and T.J. Duckett played sparingly, logging just one carry apiece. Fullback Leonard Weaver left the game in the 2nd quarter with a rib injury. Overall, the Seahawks ran for 126 yards against the NFL's 9th-ranked run defense.
Receivers/Tight Ends: D
Bobby Engram was reminiscent of his 2007 version, hauling in 5 passes for 63 yards. 4 of Engram's 5 receptions moved the chains, and several were caught in traffic. Koren Robinson and rookie tight end John Carlson had 5 receptions, as well, though each dropped passes at critical moments. Robinson dropped a sure touchdown in the 3rd quarter that would've given the Seahawks a 17-14 lead. Carlson had his hands on, but couldn't come up with, the final pass attempt of the day. Keary Colbert also had a pair of drops, including one twenty yards downfield on a 3rd and 12 that would've put the Seahawks inside the Dolphins' 40-yard line.
Offensive Line: C
The Seahawks had 298 yards of total offense and were 7-of-15 (47%) on 3rd downs. Compared to recent weeks, that could be considered an offensive explosion. Walter Jones and Sean Locklear limited Dolphins linebacker/loudmouth Joey Porter to a half-sack, and none of the Dolphins' three sacks on Wallace can be attributed to the offensive line. They were of the coverage/held ball too long variety.Ray Willis started at right guard for an injured Floyd Womack and played well. The line's most glaring miscues came in the form of false starts. The line was responsible for four of the Seahawks' five false starts, including the costly one by Mike Wahle just before the two-point conversion attempt in the 4th quarter.
Defensive Line: C
Seattle's defensive line had some moments, but without Patrick Kerney, impact plays were few and far between. Craig Terrill turned Chad Pennington around on the pass Jordan Babineaux intercepted and returned for a touchdown and Brandon Mebane was able to wrap up a scrambling Chad Pennington before he crossed the line of scrimmage to force the punt on the last meaningful Dolphins offensive series. After being gashed for 124 yards on 15 carries in the first thirty minutes, the Seahawks defensive line did a good job against the Dolphins running game, limiting Miami to 33 yards on 12 carries in the second half. Unfortunately, half of those yards came on the game-clinching touchdown run by Ronnie Brown.
No offense to D.D. Lewis, but it was good to see #51 back on the field. Lofa Tatupu led the Seahawks with 9 tackles, and as a group, the Seahawks linebackers combined for 24 tackles, 1 sack and a pass defensed. Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill all had their most effective days as blitzers, with Peterson making an athletic move to get a hit on Pennington and Hill getting his first sack of the 2008 season.
After the noodle-armed Pennington connected with Ted Ginn on a 39-yard flea flicker, despite blanket coverage by both Marcus Trufant and Brian Russell, Seahawks fans surely contemplated adding something a little stronger to their coffees. (Football at 10am. Thanks, NFL!) That Pennington-to-Ginn play was the only long pass play the Seattle secondary gave up on Sunday, and Jordan Babineaux earned his "Big Play Babs" nickname with a pick-six in the 2nd quarter. Keeping this grade in the "C" level was Deon Grant's read during Ricky Williams' 51-yard run and a Pro Bowl cornerback continually giving 10-yard cushions to a 210-pound running back that's lined up wide.
Special Teams: B-
It was another mixed bag for Bruce DeHaven's charges on Sunday. Few will be surprised when Josh Wilson and/or Justin Forsett breaks one for a touchdown this season. Wilson had an electrifying 50-yard return to ignite the Seahawks coming out of the tunnel in the 2nd half, and Forsett would add a 32-yard return on a short kick that gave the Seahawks excellent field position on their final touchdown drive. On the flipside, few will be surprised when an opponent runs one back against them. Ginn returned the opening kick 100 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back because of holding. Ginn would later have returns of 37 and 31 yards. Jon Ryan averaged 32.0 yards per punt, and the punt cover units did a pretty good job of containing Davone Bess. Justin Forsett averaged 16.3 yards on his punt returns, including a 29-yard return that set up an Olindo Mare field goal.
By my count, the Dolphins ran their "Wildcat" offense, or a variation of it, seven times. On those seven plays, they gained 82 yards and scored two touchdowns. No team has had as much film to prepare for it as the Seahawks did, but the Seahawks defense couldn't stop it. Offensively, Mike Holmgren called a pretty good game, putting the Seahawks in position to make plays. Unfortunately, the execution wasn't always there. Dropped passes in the end zone, dropped passes on 3rd down and mental errors (five false starts) were too much for the offense to overcome.
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.