Last Thursday feels so long ago. We live in a completely different world today. The Ravens got beatdown, once again, by the Chiefs, the NFL is having to deal with the reality of playing football during a pandemic, and the baseball playoffs have started though you probably had no idea. Well, a rolling stone gathers no moss, nor do the 2020 Miami Dolphins. They’re coming off a win after beating the NFL Network’s favorite team, the Jaguars, and are hosting the visiting Seattle Seahawks.
I wrote on Wednesday that this Sunday’s game against the Seahawks is a defining game for this franchise. You could and should read that here. My primary point is that although the Dolphins could lose this game on Sunday and still put together a good season, beating Seattle would elevate this franchise and begin to validate some of their decisions. Beating Seattle would announce to the league that the Dolphins aren’t pushovers and aren’t guaranteed Ws on the schedule for the elite teams. Lose, and the status quo for this team continues. Win, and now you start getting talked about that the Brian Flores plan is beginning to take shape.
We all know that beating the Seahawks will be nothing close to an easy task. And we know the main reason why it won’t be easy; Russell Wilson. This guy has been on an absolute tear so far. He has 14 TDs to only one INT. But what scares me and everyone else is his rushing ability. Surprisingly, he only has 90 yards on the ground on 14 attempts. I thought that would be more. I’m still afraid of him. Wilson is at the point that when it’s 3rd down, you can almost bet the house that they’re going to pick it up regardless of how many yards the Seahawks need. It doesn’t matter if the defense sits back in coverage or blitzes. Russ figures out precisely what to do and moves the chains. We have to understand that it’s going to happen often on Sunday. The key is getting around two extra stops on defense than other teams have gotten so far this year.
Defensively, keeping Russ in check is what it’s all about. The Seahawks receivers are underrated. Lockett, Metcalf, Olsen, and even Hollister present issues for a secondary that’s suspect at best. Sure, they locked down the mighty Jaguars receivers, but this is much different. Playing that soft coverage is excellent, but unlike Minshew, Wilson will run and pick up 11 yards every play if you let him. This means Howard, Iggy, McCain, B. Jones, and everyone else back there needs to do their job and probably have to force a turnover.
A pass-rush that actually means something will significantly help the secondary. I know Shaq Lawson is getting a lot of pressure and that’s nice and all. But pressures to Wilson don’t mean anything when he’s inviting you in and wanting you to get close to him just so that he can dip and go around you when you take a wrong angle at him. I loved Kyle Van Noy and how angry he blitzed against Jacksonville. He needs to continue to do that but also needs to make the kind of plays he did when he was in New England. Those were the kind of plays where he was in the right place at the right time.
One thing we’re going to have to deal with is the announcers mentioning the phrase let Russ cook. It’s cringeworthy just like a Russell Wilson press conference, but I feel it’s essential to let you know it’s going to happen. You have a few days to prepare mentally.
There are some factors that some will believe will make a big deal that I don’t fully subscribe too. Those are that the Seahawks have to travel cross country for a 1 PM game and that they have to play in the Miami heat. Currently, the weather is calling for 87 and rain. I’ve never thought these items were big deals. I know the media love to point them out whenever they can because it takes up time when they’re talking, but I’ve seen plenty of Dolphin’s games where Miami looked gassed, and the other team doesn’t. Also, the cross country flight aspect doesn’t resonate with me(yeah, I know I’m not a professional football player) because once game time hits these finely tuned athletic machines, adrenaline is through the roof. So it looks like the Dolphins have to beat them at football.
One item that does mean something is the injury report and Seattle has a laundry list of an injury report;
Jamal Adams looks to be out; I doubt Chris Carson plays, and Mike Iupati might be off. Big-time players that won’t be out there. I know Byron Jones is going to be iffy to go on Sunday. That hurts, but compared to Seattle, it’s not the biggest deal.
The Dolphins offense had a solid game plan against the Jaguars who have a porous pass defense. Well, the Seahawks have just as bad a reason. Here’s a fun stat; the Seahawks are the first team EVER to give up 1,200 yards passing in the first three weeks of the season. I like the Dolphin’s chances of throwing on Seattle and a big part of why I think that is because the offensive line has been fantastic this year. They’re giving Fitzpatrick time to go through his reads and find the open guy. Ultimately, let Kindley and A. Jackson cook.
I’m okay with the short passing game, especially against good offensive teams. It’s debilitating for the defense to keep allowing 1st downs, as we well know, and it keeps Russ off the field. I’d like if Gaskin, Breida, and
Zach Crockett Howard to churn out yards all day as well, but even a 100-yard performance, collectively, will be quite helpful. Sprinkle a little Fitzmagic using his legs, and you have a recipe that scores points on this pretty bad and banged up Seattle defense. Throw in a trick play to Grant, Bowden, or who knows maybe even Perry, and you’ll keep the weak Seattle defense off-balance all day.
Parker, Gesicki, Ford, and I guess Williams seem like they’re about to hit a stride of solid outings. They’re just carrying themselves like real receivers with real expectations. You have to think you can’t be stopped if you don’t want to be stopped.
The main thing the Dolphins need to do is, just like against Jacksonville, start fast. With Seattle, you can’t wait until the second quarter to begin putting together drives. You need to be Nsync right from the opening whistle.
Oh, pay no attention to Tua being out with a non-COVID illness. Nothing to see here. All is right in Miami. But hey Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe don’t lower that shoulder against Bobby Wagner that I know you’re dying to do. Go with the slide. Call me nuts, but I don’t 100% trust Reid Sinnett.
Tua Tagovailoa is back at practice today for the Dolphins. Also, Byron Jones rode an exercise bike during the portion open to reporters.— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) October 2, 2020
This is a major game for the Dolphins. Not all games are created equal, and not all games are defining games. The Super Bowl is a bit more important than week four games, in case you were unsure. Sunday’s game, if the Dolphins win, can usher in the Dolphin’s playing with swagger era. It’s an era when the Dolphins are playing the Jets or the Broncos in a few weeks that I can just think to myself “oh Miami will win because they’re better.” It’s a feeling I haven’t had too often in my life. It’s a game of irrational confidence, and if the Dolphins think they’re the man than they can play like that for a while. The Dolphin’s basketball brethren, the Heat, has been playing like that for weeks, and they got to the finals. The Dolphins could put themselves on a similar path. You beat Seattle, and then you have a Nick Mullens led 49ers squad followed by a Brett Rypien Broncos team followed by a Herbert or Taylor led Chargers team. Miami could go on a run.
But I don’t think it happens this week. Sorry to hurt feelings but, Russell Wilson is playing on a another level, and his receivers are good at getting open deep. Going deep against Miami is what you do along with crossing patterns. You’re going to see a fair share of both. Miami will give up to many chunk plays and it will be frustrating. Then, Russ will scramble for a few back breaking 1st downs. Be prepared to tear apart a pillow or something.
Dolphins 26 Seahawks 30
I’m a have to see it to believe it, guy. Until the Dolphins beat a really good team with actual skin in the game, I can’t just say they’re going to do it. I’m a cynic, unfortunately. It’s a perspective not for everybody, but it’s my cross to bear. I can’t wait for them to change my world view of them on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend and Fins Up.
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