Seeking their third victory in a row, Seattle has not won a game in Miami since Oct. 6, 1996, when John Friesz quarterbacked the club.
GAME: Seattle Seahawks (6-4, 2nd, NFC West) at Miami Dolphins (4-6, 2nd, AFC East). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 12. WHEN: Sunday, 10 a.m., PT, SunLife Stadium. MEETING: 14th (Dolphins lead 9-4). STREAKS: Seahawks W 2; Dolphins L 3. HEAD COACHES: Pete Carroll, Seattle; Joe Philbin, Miami. LINE: Seattle by 2½. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
The Seahawks (6-4) have not opened a season 7-4 since 2007, when they finished 10-6 and made the playoffs for the final time under Mike Holmgren. Seattle would seem to have a good shot at 7-4, considering that the Miami Dolphins team are coming off three consecutive defeats and struggles offensively, especially with its running game.
The Dolphins rank 28th in the NFL in rushing yards and aren’t much better throwing the ball, ranking 24th. But Miami does one thing exceptionally well — stop the run, Seattle’s strength. The Dolphins are ninth in the league and have allowed just one 100-yard rusher (Tennessee’s Chris Johnson). On the other hand, the Dolphins haven’t been able to stop the pass, ranking 27th.
This would seem to be a nice setup for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to finally post a breakout game on the road against another rookie starter, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall selection in last spring’s NFL draft, who has six touchdown passes but 11 interceptions.
Wilson has an NFL-best 122.0 passer rating at home (11 touchdown passes, no interceptions), but just a 65.8 rating on the road (four TD passes, eight interceptions). The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road vs. 5-0 at home.
In addition to the rookie quarterbacks, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Miami’s Reggie Bush, a former student of Pete Carroll’s at USC, figure to have the most to say about the outcome. While Lynch is the league’s No. 2 rusher. Bush and the Dolphins have struggled.
“Like Ryan Tannehill’s season and like our offensive unit’s season, I think there’s been a lot of productivity,” Miami head coach Joe Philbin said of Bush. “At the same time, our run game’s been — I don’t want to say stagnant — but it’s been less than what it needs to be from a production standpoint, maybe the last month or so.
“Everybody’s got a part of that. We’ve got a part of that as coaches, we’ve got to do a better job. Our blocking’s got to be better. It’s kind of an all-encompassing issue right now, not just an individual. But Reggie’s done some really good things. He’s made some key plays for us and we hope we can get him on track again.”
“Last year and early on in this season Reggie was off to a great start,” said Carroll. “He is still averaging four yards per carry, but he hasn’t been as productive lately. But we certainly see on film that he is a dynamic football player. He can score from anywhere, and they know it so they’re getting the football in his hands.”
The bye week enabled several Seahawks, including OG James Carpenter (concussion) and LB K.J. Wright (concussion), to heal. Both are expected to play Sunday.
“We’re anxious to see James back out there,” said Carroll. “It’s huge to get Wright back. We missed him. First off, Mike Morgan did a great job of filling in last week. But K.J. brings savvy and awareness to our system, he’s a great communicator on the field, he helps the guys up front. It’s just a big deal. Also, he’s a big playmaker for us.”
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 23, 1977, when the Dolphins won 31-13 Orange Bowl in a game in which Seattle’s Steve Largent caught a 13-yard TD pass from Steve Myer and John Leypoldt kicked two field goals. Miami has won four of the past five meetings, including 21-19 Nov. 9, 2008.
LAST MEETING (Dolphins 21, Seahawks 19, Nov. 9, 2008): Chad Pennington threw a 39-yard TD pass to Tedd Ginn and Ricky Williams ran 51 yards to a touchdown, leading the Dolphins. Seattle scored on a 35-yard INT return by Jordan Babineaux, a 3-yard TD pass from Seneca Wallace to Koren Robinson and two Olindo Mare field goals.
Seahawks: 6-4, 2nd, NFC West; scored 198 points (19.8 per game), ranking 24th; allowed 161 points (16.1 per game), 3rd; differential of +37 points ranks 11th. Dolphins: 4-6, 2nd, AFC East; scored 187 points (18.7), ranked 26th; allowed 205 (20.5), 8th; differential of -18 points ranks 20th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (53-53-0 career, 20-22-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson at Arizona — 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas — 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay — 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis — 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina — 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; vs. New England, 16 of 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.7 passer rating; at San Francisco, 9 of 23, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 38.7 passer rating; at Detroit, 25 of 35 for 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 96.8 passer rating; vs. Minnesota, 16 of 24, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.3 passer rating; vs. New York Jets, 12 of 19, 188 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 131.0 passer rating. Matt Flynn — DNP all games.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||3172||26||Total Yards||3099||28|
|Yards / Game||317.2||26||Yards / Game||309.9||28|
|Rush Yards||1424||6||Rush Yards||1003||21|
|Rush / Game||142.4||6||Rush / Game||100.9||21|
|Pass Yards||1748||31||Pass Yards||2090||24|
|Pass / Game||174.8||31||Pass / Game||309.9||24|
|Points / Game||19.8||24||Points / Game||18.7||26|
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||2968||4||Total Yards||3631||21|
|Yards / Game||296.8||4||Yards / Game||363.1||21|
|Rush / Allw.||1006||12||Rush / Allw.||968||9|
|Rush / Game||100.6||12||Rush / Game||96.8||9|
|Pass Allw.||1962||4||Pass Allw.||2663||27|
|Pass / Game||196.2||4||Pass / Game||266.3||27|
|Points Allw.||161||3||Points Allw.||205||8|
|Points / Game||16.1||3||Points / Game||20.5||8|
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wagner 81, Chancellor 64, Wright 63|
|Sacks||Clemons 7.0, Irvin 7.0, Mebane, 3.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 16, Irvin 13, Branch 5, Mebane 5|
|Interceptions||Sherman 4, Browner 3, Thomas 2|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 14, Thomas 7, Browner 6|
|Forced Fumbles||Browner 2, Sherman 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Mebane, Browner, Branch, Trufant 1|
DOLPHINS NOTES: Miami has defeated Oakland (35-13), Cincinnati (17-13), St. Louis (17-14) and the New York Jets (30-9), and has lost to Houston (30-10), the Jets (23-20), Arizona (24-21), Indianapolis (23-20), Tennessee (37-3) and Buffalo (19-14) . . . Reggie Bush leads in rushing with 575 yards and four TDs . . . Brian Hartline is Miami’s leading receiver with 53 catches for 790 yards and one touchdown . . . Cameron Wake has 9.5 sacks.
DOLPHINS QUARTERBACKS: Ryan Tannehill completed 179 of 308 passes for 2,120 yards, six touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a passer rating of 70.8. Selected eighth overall in the 2012 NFL draft out of Texas A&M, Tannehill had his high game in yards Sept. 30 against Arizona, throwing for 431 and one touchdown. Tannehill is coming off a 141-yard, 1-TD, 2-INT performance against Buffalo.
DOLPHINS HEAD COACH: Joe Philbin is in his first year as coach of the Dolphins. He came to Miami after working for the Green Bay Packers from 2003-11, the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator. A Springfield, MA., native, Philbin and a graduate of Washington & Jefferson, Philbin got into the coaching profession in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Tulane. He has worked as an assistant at a number of colleges, most notably at the University of Iowa as offensive line coach from 1999-02. Miami hired Philbin Jan. 20, 2012.
KEY DATES: Jan. 5-6, 2013 — Wild Card weekend; Jan. 12-13 — Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|S. Francisco||7-2-1||2-0-1||Sunday at New Orleans|
|Seattle||6-4||0-3||Sunday at Miami|
|Arizona||4-6||1-2||Sunday vs. St. Louis|
|St. Louis||3-6-1||2-0-1||Sunday at Arizona|
COMING UP: The Seahawks play at Chicago Dec. 2 and return to CenturyLink Field Dec. 9 to host the Arizona Cardinals.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||16-12||3-2|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||24-23||4-2|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||L||13-6||4-3|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||L||28-24||4-4|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||30-20||5-4|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||28-7||6-4|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
* in Toronto
2012 Seahawks Capsules
Aug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) — Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton’s 48 yards on three carries.
Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) — Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.
Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.
Sept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona’s red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.
Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.
Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson’s pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn’t called. Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.
Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown,Seahawks, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.
Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson’s NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson’s worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.
Oct. 14: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23: Russell Wilson threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 to play to give the Seahawks a come-from-behind victory. The Seahawks trailed 23-10 in the second half, but Wilson fired touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards before finding Rice with the game-winning throw.
Oct. 18: 49ers 13, Seahawks 6: Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seahawks in a battle for first place in the NFC West. Frank Gore ran for 131 yards. The 49ers made just enough plays to win a defense-first game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 103 yards for Seattle, but Russell Wilson couldn’t generate a passing game, going 9 of 23 for 122 yards and a passer rating of 38.7.
Oct. 28: Lions 28, Seahawks 24: Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a one-yard slant with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit. Young needed to make the second TD catch after Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks ahead. But Seattle (4-4) couldn’t stop the Lions (3-4) on their last possession.
Nov. 4: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20: Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes, and the Seahawks overcame 182 yards by Adrian Peterson to snap a two-game losing streak. Peterson tore through the Seahawks defense for one of the finest games of his career, yet was stuck being a spectator as Seattle slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter, mostly on the legs of Lynch, with a few key passes by Wilson.
Nov. 11: Seahawks 28, N.J. Jets 7: Wilson threw two touchdowns to Sidney Rice, and Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the Jets at CenturyLink Field. Rice also threw the first pass of his NFL career, completing a 23-yard touchdown to Golden Tate.