One of the best days of Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh's NFL career got off to a rather inauspicious start.
On Miami's second possession of the game, Marsh rushed Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and in the process missed picking up running back Arian Foster—Marsh's responsibility on the play—as he leaked out of the backfield. Tannehill hit a wide-open Foster with a short pass, which he turned into a 50-yard gain.
The defense stopped Miami later in the drive, but Marsh heard about his missed assignment form coaches on the sideline, then told himself he would make up for it.
"That's the kind of mistake I can't make," Marsh said. "I've got to be better for my teammates."
Throughout the rest of Sunday's 12-10 victory over the Dolphins, Marsh more than made up for that early miscue, making plays on special teams and defense to help the Seahawks secure a win. Marsh had three tackles on special teams, two of them huge hits on punt coverage, he sacked Tannehill on the second to last play of the game, snuffing out any hopes of what would have at that point been an unlikely comeback in the final seconds, and perhaps most significantly, Marsh blocked a Dolphins field goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter.
"Cassius Marsh was ridiculous today, he was all over the field," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He had a big mistake early, and came back and his presence was felt in big areas in the kicking game, and obviously blocking the kick, that was a huge block. A great effort by him, I'm really fired up for Cassius... They were all significant plays in the game. How is the backup guy able to have that much of a factor? Because he's a terrific player. He really is. He made the very most of his opportunities."
Marsh, who is starting his third season with Seattle, was in the competition to start at strongside linebacker during training camp, but veteran Mike Morgan won that job. Marsh instead came into this season vowing to make the most of every chance he did get on defense and special teams, and with one notable exception, he did that in a big way Sunday.
"My teammates really helped me with that," Marsh said. "I made that mistake—as soon as it happened, I knew it was me. The overwhelming feeling of just letting my teammates down, that's what came to me. It wasn't anything other than that. I let my guys down… I was able to bounce back. My teammates stayed on top of me, everyone came to me and was like, 'Hey man, just leave it in the past and continue to play, keep going forward,' and that's what I did.
"I fully intended on making up for it. I can't let it affect me, but I definitely have to make up for it. I can't let my teammates down like that and not make up for it. That's not how we do things around here. We have each other's back. They had my back, and I had to do the same. I didn't feel like I had made up for it until we got the W. If we wouldn't have gotten the W, that play would have killed me."
But the Seahawks did get the W, and despite one play he'd rather forget, it was an afternoon to remember for Marsh.
"He played lights out," defensive end Cliff Avril said. "He messed up early on in the game on one play, but he bounced back. It shows how much he has matured. He bounced back and had a heck of a game. He made plays on special teams, he blocked the field goal, he had a sack fumble, so that's clutch."
Check out some action photos of Seahawks vs Dolphins Week 1 at CenturyLink Field.