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5 Instant Takeaways from Miami Dolphins' 31-23 loss to Seattle Seahawks

Joe Schad
Palm Beach Post
Seahawks wide receiver David Moore pulls in a 17-yard touchdown catch over Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene late in Sunday's game at Hard Rock Stadium.

MIAMI GARDENS — The Dolphins settled for too many field goals to upset the Seahawks on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

Seattle beat Miami 31-23. Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene was heavily involved in the defeat, looking every bit the rookie he is.

Igbinoghene, a first-rounder, was part of a busted coverage near the end of the first half that led to a critical touchdown. Then, with less than six minutes to play, Igbinoghene was beaten by receiver David Moore on a 17-yard touchdown.

Earlier in the drive, Igbinoghene ended up chasing Tyler Lockett on a key completion on a crossing route. Igbinoghene is nowhere close to fully developed.

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Miami kicker Jason Sanders was 5-for-5 on field goals. The Dolphins defense competed fairly well against Russell Wilson's high-powered offense. But quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick could not lead a touchdown drive until he ran for one with less than two minutes to play.

Fitzpatrick was intercepted after a pass was tipped on Miami's first possession of the game. It was sealed when Fitzpatrick was intercepted with Miami trailing by nine points and 4:16 to play.

The Dolphins end the first quarter of their schedule with a 1-3 record. Miami has more talent and is far more competitive in 2020 than 2019. 

Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker makes one of his team-high 10 receptions against the Seahawks on Sunday.

But wins are not going to be easy to come by for the Dolphins. Here are five takeaways from Miami's loss to Seattle:

Igbinoghene and rookie mistakes

Near the end of the second quarter, Igbinoghene allowed Moore to run past him for a 57-yard gain that led to a touchdown.

Igbinoghene peeled off of coverage, and it was unclear why. It was the second consecutive week that a receiver ran past the rookie, and a safety could not get over to save the day.

In this case, that was Jamal Perry, who was in the game for sidelined Bobby McCain. Later in the game, McCain returned.

Other than a few possible busts, Igbonighene has shown great upside. There is just going to be some growing pain. In a more ideal situation, Byron Jones (Achilles/groin) would be healthy, and Igbinoghene could be worked in more slowly.

Perhaps Jones will return for Miami's next game, at San Francisco, and Igbinoghene can reset.

Parker completely different player

Devante Parker went out of the game in the first quarter due to an ankle injury. But when he returned, he was Miami's most valuable weapon.

When Parker is on the field, he's one the 10 best receivers in the NFL. This is a player who has matured and is determined to play through pain and injury.

Parker has been aided by the arrival of coach Brian Flores and Fitzpatrick, who have shown they trust him. Parker is stronger physically and more engaged and assertive on and off the field.

Only eight receivers in Dolphins history have more receiving yards than Parker. He's re-writing his own legacy before our eyes.

Howard, Metcalf big battle

Facing Wilson was always going to be a difficult challenge for the Miami defense, as no quarterback is playing as well in 2020.

Xavien Howard, who missed so much time before the season recovering from offseason knee surgery, had a hard time handling Seattle receiver D.K. Metcalf.

But in the third quarter, with the Seahawks up 17-9, Howard stepped in front of Metcalf in the back of Miami's end zone for a critical interception. 

It was the second consecutive week Howard came up with an interception.

On Sunday, Miami used a lot of zone as opposed to the tight man coverage. This is an adjustment for Howard as he has always flourished in man-press.

Ogbah gets key sack

The Dolphins need free-agent defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson to live up to their contracts. On Sunday, Ogbah came through in a critical moment.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll elected to go for it on a 4th-and-3 at Miami's 18-yard line in the second quarter. Ogbah rose up with a critical sack.

Ogbah also forced pressure on Wilson, helping lead to Howard's third-quarter interception in the end zone.

Near the end of the third quarter, Lawson had a key sack, but he injured his shoulder on the play. He later returned.

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Sanders continues to impress

Last year, Jason Sanders set a franchise record when he made seven field goals in a 22-21 loss to the New York Jets. Sanders did, however, miss a field goal in that defeat.

There was no such miss Sunday. Sanders went 5-for-5 on field goals, scoring Miami's first 15 points. 

Sanders has rebounded into his rookie form. Overall, Miami’s special teams have been a bright spot. Punter Matt Haack continues to play well. Sanders even had a seldom-seen coffin corner kickoff that pinned the Seahawks.