MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Miami kicker Dan Carpenter didn't wait for presents on his 27th birthday.
He gifted-wrapped Sunday's game with Seattle for himself and his team, hitting a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give the Dolphins a 24-21 victory.
The game was marked by a brief interruption in the third quarter when the sprinklers on the field went on, but that could not prevent the home team from winning.
For Carpenter, it was redemption of sorts. In the third game of the season, he missed from 47 yards in the fourth quarter and again from 48 yards in overtime as the Dolphins lost to the New York Jets 23-20.
"It felt like it had been forever," said Carpenter. "It has been so long. I hit it good, looked up and saw it was right down the middle."
"I never lost confidence. You don't worry about the last one whether you make it or miss it. You focus on the next one."
Carpenter's field goal completed a dramatic finish that saw the Dolphins score on their last three possessions to break a three-game losing streak and improve to 5-6.
The Seahawks continued to have trouble on the road, losing for the fifth time in six games, as they dropped to 6-5.
"It hurts," wide receiver Golden Tate said. "It hurts. We're trying to get it going on the road. We're trying to get it going. It's going to happen. Miami played a good game. You know on paper with their record, they should not have been in this game."
The Dolphins' defense came up big, stopping a streak of four straight 100-yard rushing games by Seattle's Marshawn Lynch, who gained only 46 yards in 19 carries, his second lowest output of the season.
"Every week is hard yards," Lynch said. "Sometimes, you get that break, and you go. Sometimes, you don't get that break."
The game fell into the hands of the two rookie quarterbacks, and it was Miami's Ryan Tannehill who had the final word over Seattle's Russell Wilson.
With the game tied 21-21, Tannehill and the Dolphins gained possession at their 10 with 1:32 left. He completed three passes for 51 yards and ran for 15 yards to move his team into position for Carpenter to win it.
"You know with Tannehill back there," center Mike Pouncey said, "we have so much confidence that he will win the game for us."
He finished with a rating of 97.1, hitting 18 of 26 passes for 246 yards with a touchdown and interception. He rushed for 33 yards.
"We had three tough losses," Tannehill said. "Anytime you lose consecutive games like that, it's really tough. We were just looking to get back on track."
Wilson had a 125.7 rating, hitting 21 of 27 passes for 216 yards with two touchdowns. He rushed for 38 yards.
"We did a lot of great things today," Wilson said, "but we also did some things that were just not characteristic of us."
The Dolphins' offense was much more two-dimensional as they ran for 189 yards, second most allowed by the Seattle defense this season. Seattle had 96 yards rushing, their second lowest total of the season.
Miami got on the board first. Reggie Bush's 21-yard run, thanks to blocks from Pouncey and Jake Long, gave the Dolphins a 7-0 lead with 5:31 left in the half.
Wilson drove the Seahawks 80 yards and completed a three-yard pass to Anthony McCoy with 29 seconds left for a 7-7 halftime tie. Tate had a spectacular 32-yard catch to set up the touchdown.
On their first possession of the second half, Wilson completed seven straight passes for 69 yards and ran for 20 yards as the Seahawks took a 14-7 lead on a four-yard pass to Michael Robinson.
The Dolphins answered in the fourth quarter with an 82-yard drive that ended with a three-yard run by Daniel Thomas. Prior to the Thomas run, Tannehill was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker Bobby Wagner, but that interception was nullified when free safety Earl Thomas was called for roughing the passer. Thomas scored on the next play.
"I think there was a real questionable call on the interception," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It just looked wrong. That was a very big call in this game. We get the turnover, and then we don't get it. That's a very big call to make when the guy wasn't intending to hit the quarterback. Earl [Thomas] tried to block the pass and came down on the quarterback."
The 14-14 tie only lasted long enough for Seattle's Leon Washington to return the ensuing kickoff 98 yards. A Dolphin nemesis, Washington returned a kickoff 98 for a touchdown while playing for the New York Jets in 2007.
Trailing 21-14, the Dolphins answered with an 80-yard drive that ended with Tannehill hitting Charles Clay with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 5:13 left.
The Seahawks then took the kickoff, and Wilson moved them to the Miami 49, where the Dolphins forced a punt after a six-yard loss and a sack of Wilson.
"It wasn't easy getting him on the ground," Dolphin linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "He was elusive and played a good game."
From there, Tannehill put Carpenter in position to celebrate his birthday with a Dolphin victory.
NOTES: The game was delayed abruptly in the third quarter with 1:44 left when Sun Life Stadium sprinkler system began showering the field. The system was cut off in minutes . . . Tannehill surpassed Dan Marino's 1983 rookie record of 2,210 passing yards as he moved to 2,373 yards . . On Miami's second possession, Tannehill was intercepted by linebacker Bobby Wagner. It was Wagner's first interception of the year. It was Tannehill's sixth interception in the last three games . . . Seahawks' defensive end Chris Clemons recorded his eighth sack (7 yards) moving him one ahead of teammate Bruce Irvin . . . Clemons left the game in third quarter with cramps . . . Seahawks' linebacker Leroy Hill left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury.