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On a day when the Seahawks and Dolphins both struggled to generate much in the way of offense for three-plus quarters, both teams put together impressive drives to trade touchdowns late, with the Seahawks pulling of a 12-10 victory thanks to a Russell Wilson touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left in the game.
Here are five things that stood out in Seattle’s season-opening victory:
1. Wilson gutted it out to lead the winning drive.
Sunday was a rough day for Wilson. He was sacked 3 times and hit 8 times, and on one of those hits, Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh stepped on Wilson’s ankle, causing an apparent injury Wilson had checked out between series. Wilson, who has been remarkably durable in his career, never missing a game or practice to injury, did return without missing a play, but appeared limited. He was healthy enough, however, to come through in the clutch after Miami took its first lead of the game with 4:08 left on the clock.
With the Seahawks needing a touchdown to retake the lead, Wilson led the Seahawks on a 75-yard drive that ate up more 3:37 of the clock, capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Baldwin.
Baldwin came up big on the drive, not only catching the game-winner, but also a 22-yard reception on fourth-and-4, as well as a 9-yard catch two plays before his touchdown. Baldwin finished the game with nine catches for 92 yards.
2. Seattle’s defense was for the most part very impressive.
Yes, there was that long Miami drive that gave the Dolphins the lead, but other than that one possession, Seattle’s defense was dominant throughout the game. Even with that 86-yard touchdown drive, the Dolphins managed only 214 yards, 11 first downs, went 3 of 14 on third down, and scored their only other points off of a Seahawks turnover.
3. Cassius Marsh came up big
Marsh emerged as a big part of Seattle’s special teams play last season, and based on a one-game sample size, he’s ready to do the same in 2016. Marsh’s most notable play was a blocked field goal that at the time preserved a 3-point lead in fourth quarter, but he also came up with two huge hits on punt coverage and finished with three special teams tackles.
Marsh added a sack on the second to last play of the game, all but ending any hopes the Dolphins had a comeback.
4. The carries were pretty evenly split.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll mentioned earlier in the week that he doesn’t necessarily want his offense to have a featured back who gets the bulk of the carries, even though that was the case for years with Marshawn Lynch, and indeed on Sunday that was the case.
Christine Michael got the start, as expected, but Thomas Rawls played extensively as well after carrying only twice in Seattle’s final preseason game. Michael finished with 15 carries for 66 yards, while Rawls had 12 carries for 32. Rookie C.J. Prosise left the game early with a wrist injury and had one catch for 13 yards and one carry for a loss of two yards.
5. Cornerbacks DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane stood out.
While Richard Sherman is the best-known Seahawks cornerback, he isn’t the only playmaker at that position. On a day the Dolphins mostly avoided Sherman, right cornerback DeShawn Shead and nickel corner Jeremy Lane both played very well, with Shead recording two pass breakups, and Lane adding one that forced a Dolphins punt, as well as some very physical play.