What happens when your best unit is without two of its best players at the least opportune time?
A soul-crushing, game-winning touchdown.
That was the reality for the Dolphins’ defensive line Sunday, which was fantastic for everything but the final four minutes of the game.
It didn’t help that both Earl Mitchell (calf) and Mario Williams (concussion) were both out, and Jordan Phillips wasn’t at full strength, as Russell Wilson led the Seahawks on a 14-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The Seahawks didn’t have a single negative play on their decisive possession.
Coach Adam Gase didn’t have an update on either injured Dolphin after the game, but the fact neither returned when they were needed the most was telling.
And so, the Dolphins were left with Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and a bunch of rotation players as Wilson won the day.
“That’s a drive where we have to get off the field,” said Wake, making his first regular-season appearance since tearing his Achilles tendon last October. “We didn’t get it done... It’s a tough way to go out, that’s for sure.”
Added Ndamukong Suh, who had a sack, four tackles, a pass defense and hit Wilson three times: “Definitely not satisfied. ... We’re not perfect and I don’t think we’ll ever be perfect. But we can strive for perfection, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Gase, meanwhile, had a much different take. He praised a group that held the Seahawks out of the end zone for the first 59 minutes and 29 seconds.
“I thought our defense did a great job to have us in the position we were in,” Gase said. “I was more irritated with the fact that we couldn’t help them on the other side of the ball. We couldn’t get anything going.”
Williams tallied a sack and two tackles before leaving his Dolphins debut with the head injury. Phillips’ second-half pressure helped force a fumble; he also shared a sack with Jason Jones.
DeVante Parker, as expected, did not play Sunday against the Seahawks. Leonte Carroo started in his place and caught two passes for 14 yards.
Parker, a first-round pick a year ago, has dealt with a troublesome hamstring injury in recent weeks, and the Dolphins have shut him down for the opener out of an abundance of caution.
Center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Jay Ajayi (coach’s decision) were ruled out on Friday, and also did not play.
The Dolphins’ other four inactives: quarterback Brandon Doughty, running back Isaiah Pead, guard Dallas Thomas and defensive end Terrence Fede.
The only real surprise of the group was Thomas, who went from a potential starter three weeks ago to a Game 1 scratch. Kraig Urbik played instead.
Anthony Steen started in place of Pouncey, whom ESPN reported Sunday has a fractured hip; Pouncey could miss another game or two. Without him, the Dolphins’ offensive line allowed four sacks Sunday and Miami averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.
▪ Andrew Franks didn’t have many field-goal chances as a rookie. He would surely love to have back his second chance of season No. 2.
Franks’ 27-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter was blocked by Cassius Marsh. The blown gimme cost the Dolphins three points in a game they lost by two.