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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



November 26, 2012 at 6:29 AM

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Monday post-mortem: Revisiting Sunday's keys

Each weekend, I assemble a preview for the Seahawks' game that lists the keys to victory for each team. And once the game is played, I promptly forget all about those keys. A reader suggested that instead of letting those keys floating out in the ether of cyberspace, bring 'em on back and look at how it actually played out on the field. It was such a fine idea that I'm doing just that.

Keys to Seahawks victory

Seahawks 1. Keep holiday giveaways to a minimum.

Scouting report: The Seahawks have committed 11 turnovers in their five road games entering Sunday's game, eight of those being interceptions.

Results: Seattle finished a road game without committing a turnover for the first time this season. Bobby Wagner's first-half interception gave Seattle an edge in turnover ratio yet the Seahawks still lost, which was surprising. It was only the third time under coach Pete Carroll that Seattle lost a game in which it forced more turnovers than it committed. Entering the game, he Seahawks were 13-2 under Carroll when they held an edge in turnover ratio.

Seahawks 2. Make Miami pay for their blitzes.

Scouting report: "They pressure more than anybody else we've played," Carroll said before the game. Dolphins' defensive end Cameron Wake entered the game with 9.5 sacks, fifth-most in the league.

Results: The Dolphins had two sacks, but Wake didn't account for either. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was great in his ability to evade pressure and extend the play, and when Miami blitzed at the end of the first half, he got the ball out to Golden Tate, who was in man-to-man coverage. Tate made an incredible catch for a 32-yard gain, which was Seattle's longest play from scrimmage and set up Seattle's first touchdown.

Seahawks 3. Don't get burned on special teams.

Scouting report: Miami's offense scored just one touchdown in the previous two games entering Sunday, but the Dolphins can find other ways to score if Seattle's not careful on special teams.

Results: Not only did Seattle prevent the big play on special teams, but the Seahawks popped one as Leon Washington returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Seattle held a huge advantage in field position as Miami's first possession was the only time it started a drive outside its own 20.

Keys to Dolphins victory

dol-mark-1-cl.gif 1. Don't get marched on by Marshawn.

Scouting report: Entering Sunday's game, Marshawn Lynch gained more than 100 yards in four successive games, which matches Seattle's franchise record.

Results: Lynch gained 46 yards on 19 carries, his second-lowest rushing total this season and his lowest per-carry average in any game since Oct. 30, 2011 when he gained 24 yards on 16 carries vs. Cincinnati.

dol-mark-1-cl.gif 2. Change the tide of turnovers.

Scouting report: The Dolphins have committed seven turnovers over the previous two games entering Sunday, and they hadn't forced a turnover in their past three.

Results: Well, Miami didn't force a turnover for the fourth successive game. The Dolphins had one pass picked off, and avoided a second interception that would have been absolutely crushing when Wagner's interception in the end zone was nullified by a penalty against Seattle's Earl Thomas for roughing the passer.

dol-mark-1-cl.gif 3. Don't get behind.

Scouting report: Not only has Seattle scored first in nine of its 10 games this season, but the Seahawks have shown an ability to close out games by holding the ball for more than 12 minutes of the fourth quarter in each of its last two games entering Sunday's game.

Results: This assessment was wro -- ummmm --- wrrrrroooooooo -- ummmm -- mistaken. Miami gained 228 yards in the fourth quarter compared to 207 in the first three. Ryan Tannehill passed for 156 yards in the fourth quarter after throwing for 97 in the first three. He completed seven of nine passes, and one of his two incompletions was a spike to stop the clock.


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