The Seattle Game was Important.

I tend to write mostly during the off season when there is time to reflect and refrain from getting caught up in the weekly roller coaster of games.  One game can only mean so much but every now and then one game means a little more than just that game.  Overall, this season has been pretty much as expected for me.  I only anticipated four wins this season and while we have already beaten that figure, it is still on par for my impression of where we would be. 

The fashion in which we made our comeback against Seattle has lead me to break from my off season mold a bit.  In my mind, the most important quality in a quarterback and offense is the ability to lead a game winning drive at the end of a game.  In regards to quarterbacks, it shows that they are capable of a high level of leadership, preparedness, coolness under pressure and killer instinct.  These qualities bleed over into every aspect of the team because psychologically there is never a point where the rest of the team thinks they are out of a game.  A team can say to the media that they believe they can win any game, but that is before the game starts when the score is 0-0.  It is a much different animal than when the chips are down and the clock is ticking.  But the quarterback also has to have a competent team around him and it was nice to see the O-line and receivers step up for a change. 

In this particular comeback victory we managed to do some things that haven't exactly been "classic" Dolphins' football as of late.  We answered an easy score by the opposing return team with a nice touchdown drive of our own.  We then played nice defense to get the ball back and although we didn't necessarily have great starting position we confidently moved down the field in a two minute offense in a way that could have just as easily produced a touchdown as a field goal.  How many times have we seen this team play not to lose and just run out the clock in that situation?  I really enjoyed seeing our team use the clock correctly for a change and rush to the line.  We had a moment with that illegal shift that made me recall the days of old, and I would really like to see that kind of stuff go away, but we did manage to overcome that.  And finally of course, Carpenter nailed his field goal instead of choking us right into over time.

The come back wasn't the only feature of the game that struck me.  I don't think it is a secret that running the ball wears down a defense and softens them up for the end of the game.  I was very happy to see that we pushed our run game hard early on and didn't let up from it like we have done too many times this year.  I am not proposing that we "ground and pound" the ball all game hoping that our defense will manage to get a few turnovers for us to win the game, but I do believe that keeping the run game going allows teams a better chance at either widening a lead or making a comeback in the fourth quarter.

But none of this would even matter to me if we hadn't played such a good defense.  I have watched several Seahawks games this year and their defense has been quite impressive.  We shouldn't forget that the trip from Seattle to Miami could have been an influencing factor, but even so it looked like we were capable of having our way out there.  We had a nice one two punch with speedy Bush and bruiser Thomas.  In the pass game we had good reliability from our receivers and it was nice to see some big plays from Clay.  The icing on the cake was seeing Tannehill use his legs for a change.  For a guy who played receiver in college for a year, I had expected to see more running from him at this point.  We really had their defense off balance at times.  If Seattle was able to make Jake Long look a little like a chump, the travel couldn't have been too big of a deal. 

I truly hate overstating games, but this one deserves some praise.  I am sure the Patriots will bring us down to earth, but at least the team knows we are capable of getting the job done while time is running out.  You can't teach confidence, you can only provide an environment for it to manifest.  We all saw what happened out there and next time many of us will sit in our seats just a little longer to see if another comeback is in the cards.  If we can string together a few nice finishes to games, it would go a long way toward changing the culture that has plagued this club for all to long.