Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are off to a stellar start. Now the team needs its defense to step up.
The Seahawks are 3-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl championship season of 2013 heading into a Sunday road game against the Miami Dolphins (1-2). However, Seattle has been doing it in a very unlike-Pete Carroll way -- riding Wilson's arm and not their defense.
Wilson has set an NFL record for most touchdown passes through three games with 14 and became the first quarterback to throw four or more touchdowns in each of the first three games.
He was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after completing 27 of 40 passes for 315 yards and five scores last Sunday in a 38-31 victory against the Dallas Cowboys. Wilson hit DK Metcalf on a 29-yard TD pass with 1:47 remaining for the winning score.
The Seahawks' Ryan Neal intercepted a Dak Prescott pass in the end zone in the final seconds to clinch the victory. A week earlier, the Seahawks stopped New England's Cam Newton at the 1-yard line on the final play of a 35-30 Seattle win.
The defense has been another story, having surrendered 86 points -- the third most in league history for a 3-0 team.
"It's not something I am accustomed to. It is not something I want to be accustomed to," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
The Seahawks have allowed 1,292 yards passing, more than any team through three weeks -- the 2011 New England Patriots allowed 1,131. For comparison, the 2013 Seahawks with their "Legion of Boom" defensive backfield gave up 440 over the first three games.
At least the Seahawks have been good against the run, allowing 66.7 yards per game.
"We have to do good at something so it's good to hold teams under 50 yards or 75 yards rushing," Wagner said. "But when we're still giving up as many yards as we're giving up, it doesn't matter."
Injuries have played a part.
Rush end Bruce Irvin and nickel back Marquise Blair sustained season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injuries in Week 2. Blitzing safety Jamal Adams, the team's big offseason acquisition in a trade with the New York Jets, sustained a groin injury and spent the fourth quarter on the sideline last week. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) and safety Lano Hill (back) were both inactive against Dallas.
The defensive-minded Carroll has continued to preach balance, but the LetRussCook campaign has continued to take off. With lead running back Chris Carson having sprained his left knee last week, Wilson's role might even expand.
"I would rather win by a lot, but I don't mind," Wilson said. "I don't mind winning either way. A win is a win, and I love winning."
The Dolphins are coming off their first victory of the season, a 31-13 triumph at Jacksonville on Sept. 24 in which veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 18 of 20 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
It was Miami's first victory by a double-digit margin in 39 games, ending the longest drought in the league. It was the first time the Dolphins have won a game by more than eight points since Dec. 3, 2017, a 35-9 victory over the Denver Broncos.
"I'm excited for the players and coaches to see the fruits of their labor," Dolphins coach Brian Flores. "That's why we put all the time in -- to win ballgames. Now the goal is to try to string them together."
The Dolphins might have trouble slowing Wilson, with an ailing defensive backfield and a ground game that has yet to do much.
Veteran newcomers Matt Breida and Jordan Howard have combined for 75 yards in 31 rushes, a 2.4 average. Myles Gaskin, a seventh-round draft pick last year out of the University of Washington, has a combined 243 yards from scrimmage.
Cornerback Byron Jones missed the Jacksonville game because of a groin injury and has remained out of practice this week. The other starter, Xavien Howard, grabbed the back of his right leg after making a late-game interception and has been limited with a knee injury.
--Field Level Media