SEATTLE — Another fourth quarter comeback for Russell Wilson. This time with an added degree of difficulty.
Hobbled by an ankle injury, Wilson pulled off another late rally, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 31 seconds left and giving the Seattle Seahawks a 12-10 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
“We looked after him a little bit. We weren’t sure what he could do,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t want to tax him too much.”
Seattle had no choice but to rely on Wilson on a day the expected NFC contenders looked flawed offensively and buckled defensively in the fourth quarter. Seattle yielded an 86-yard touchdown drive to Ryan Tannehill that gave the Dolphins a 10-6 lead with 4:08 remaining.
That’s when Wilson went to work, playing on a right ankle that twisted badly in the third quarter as he was sacked by Ndamukong Suh. Seattle converted fourth-and-1 early in the drive on a 7-yard run by Christine Michael, but the big play was Wilson finding Baldwin for 22 yards on a crossing route on fourth-and-4 near midfield.
Four plays later, Wilson hit Baldwin in the corner of the end zone to give Seattle the lead — and finally exhale after a tougher-than-expected opener.
“There’s a feeling of familiarity. (Wilson’s) been there before. He’s come through,” Seattle cornerback Richards Sherman said. “… There is confidence. You believe in your guys.”
Wilson’s 19th fourth quarter or overtime comeback ruined Adam Gase’s debut as coach in Miami. The Dolphins were stymied by Seattle’s defense for three quarters before putting together an impressive drive to take the lead.
Miami had just 145 yards total offense until that drive. Tannehill hit Jarvis Landry for 28 yards and Damien Williams for 29 to reach the Seattle 2. Two plays later, Tannehill bulled across the goal line on a designed draw.
MIAMI’S VICE: Tannehill was 16 of 29 for 186 yards, but Miami twice drove inside the Seattle 20 and failed to come away with points.
“I thought our defense did a great job, had us in the position that we were in,” Gase said. “I was just more irritated with the fact that we couldn’t help them on the other side of the ball.”
ANKLE DAMAGE: Wilson was hobbled after he was sacked by Suh for a 13-yard loss. As he was going down, Suh clipped the back of Wilson’s foot and caused the foot and ankle to turn awkwardly. Wilson limped through the possession before getting examined on the sideline and having his foot and ankle taped. He finished 27 of 43 for 258 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“I was telling some of the coaches and some of the trainers that when I’m 43, 44, 45 years old and I’m still playing, that’s probably what I’ll look like out there,” Wilson said.
MISSED IT: Miami missed on three great scoring chances. On fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 17 in the first quarter, Tannehill tried to draw the Seahawks offside before handing off to Arian Foster, who was stuffed at the line of scrimmage. On their next series, Kenny Stills got free behind Seattle’s secondary only to drop what would have been a sure touchdown. And in the third quarter, Andrew Franks’ 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cassius Marsh.
ANTHEM ATTENTION : Foster, Stills, Michael Thomas and Jelani Jenkins all took a knee on the Miami sideline just before the national anthem began. The four held their hands over their hearts as the anthem played and stood immediately at its conclusion.
The Dolphins released a statement saying they encourage players and staff to stand during the anthem, but recognize an “individual’s right to reflect during the anthem in different ways.”
“I felt that the platform we have in the NFL can be used to spread awareness to certain things,” Foster said. “That’s what it was about, to continue a conversation about social injustices and systematic racism that still plagues our country.”
On the opposite sideline, Seahawks players and coaches locked arm in arm. That included defensive back Jeremy Lane, who sat during the national anthem in the preseason finale in Oakland in a sign of support for San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
INJURIES: Dolphins — Mario Williams left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion. He did not return. DT Earl Mitchell also suffered a calf injury in the first half.
Seahawks — Rookie RB C.J. Prosise suffered a wrist injury in the first half and was seen on the sideline with a cast on his wrist. Carroll said Prosise has a sprained wrist and the cast was protective.