The Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson are struggling offensively and the team has a 3-8 record to show for their efforts through 11 games.
Wilson has not looked like his former self in the the three games he’s played since returning from finger surgery in October. He’s misfired on simple throws that he almost always makes and Seattle’s offense has just three offensive touchdowns to show for his efforts in their last three games against the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Washington Football Team. That includes a 17-0 loss to the Packers that was the first shutout of Wilson’s career.
The Seahawks are worst in the league in time of possession, offensive plays run and third down conversions. Their shortcomings in those areas preceded Wilson’s mangled finger as well. Only twice this season has a team gone three-and-out on five consecutive drives. Both instances belong to Seattle in games against the San Francisco 49ers in Week Four and Monday night’s 17-15 loss to Washington.
So, Pete Carroll, what’s going on with Wilson and the offense?
“As we went through it, and we watched it together, there’s a few plays in there on the shorter passing game that he just really tried to drill the football and maybe threw it a little too hard, harder than normal,” the Seahawks head coach said on Wednesday. “Trying to make sure the ball was there and crisp and all that. The balls down the field he threw the ball really well. On the move, really well. We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be, and it showed up on three specific third down situations that all could’ve been very convertible for us. That’s just as we looked at it. Easily corrected. Easily corrected. He feels great. He does not feel like he’s burdened by the surgery from the past and all that. He’s ready to go.”
Wilson has insisted that the finger is not causing him any issues and Carroll said after the game Monday that they haven’t seen any negative effects tricking through to the practice field. But when the games have come along, Wilson has become more erratic.
Carroll said he’s not considering sitting Wilson down to give him more time to rest. Instead, he said Wilson needs more turns, if anything.
“He doesn’t need to be rested,” Carroll said. “He’s not tired or worn down or anything. He needs the action. He needs to get back to the activity. He needs to play more and get into the flow of it as much as possible.”
While Wilson’s finger certainly seems to be causing some problems, despite Wilson’s and Carroll’s claims otherwise, it doesn’t explain all of the issues Seattle’s offense has faced this season. The Seahawks are nearly three full minutes behind the 31st team in time of possession, the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they possess the ball just 24:09 a game on average. They’ve lost the time of possession battle by close to a 2-1 ratio each of the last three weeks with a season-low 18:20 against Washington.
DK Metcalf didn’t get a single target until the fourth quarter of the loss to Washington. Wilson misfired on three throws to tight end Gerald Everett and airmailed a pair of throws to Metcalf in the fourth quarter.
Carroll and the Seahawks have known about their third down issues for weeks and continue to say it’s just about getting a few more conversions to keep drives alive. It’s something they have yet to be able to accomplish. Ultimately, it comes down to Wilson and the offense needing to breakthrough and solve it.
“We need to be consistent with the throws and make sure that he’s hitting the guys when he gets his chance, specifically on third down, that’s just been an Achilles heel for us,” Carroll said. “We need to get out of this thing and get going and get moving. We had those five series in a row, five chances with the football that we didn’t get anything done. Those are all opportunities to convert. In those situations, they were very makeable. We had one third-and-8, and third-and 5 or less on the rest of them. Those are situations we need to excel at. We expect to and we’re not settling for anything but that.
“He’s got to do his part, We’ve got to catch the football. We’ve got to get the protection right. Everything adds up so we can be successful. Really, the whole part is frustrating because we’ve been talking about the same thing. We need to get better and show that. It’s on me. It’s on all of us.”