LANDOVER, Md. -- You can forget about the playoffs, though you probably already did.
What on Earth is wrong with Russell Wilson and the offense? And what might his struggles amid this going-nowhere season mean for the quarterback's future in Seattle?
There are no easy answers for either. The only thing clear is at 3-8, the Seahawks' chances of making the playoffs for the ninth time in Wilson's 10 seasons are next to nil. ESPN's Football Power Index gives them a 1% chance, down from 5.6% entering the game. It would have been 10% with a win.
Wilson’s eyes were noticeably glassy after the Seahawks’ latest loss and he was asked why?
"Because I love this game," Wilson said. "I love this game. I love this team. I love winning and I love the process of doing all the hard work. Like I always tell you guys, I love the process more than then the end result. And when you put everything in, every second, every hour, every day and it doesn’t end the way you want it too, it’s always tough. But like I always told you guys before, there’s harder things in life. There’s tougher things people are going through. What I do know is that this is a gift and what I do know is that we will respond the right way. We’ll come back to work tomorrow, be better and give everything we have. That’s all we know."
Wilson raised a stink last February about his frustrations, and both he and the Seahawks flirted with the idea of moving on. Trading Wilson this offseason wouldn't be quite as punitive cap-wise as it would have been, but it would still come with $26 million in dead-money charges as he has two years left on his contract.
And there's so much that would have to align for it to happen: Wilson wanting out in the first place, the Seahawks getting the right offer that gives them a viable path to a replacement, that offer coming from a team that Wilson would want to play for (remember, he has a no-trade clause that gives him veto power), and Seattle being willing to make the daring move of trading the best player in franchise history while he's in his prime at 33 years old, the age Wilson turned Monday.
That figures to be the leading story once Seattle's season ends. In the meantime, Wilson and the Seahawks have six games to fix all that's broken after scoring a combined 26 offensive points in their last three games since his return from finger surgery. Wilson has repeatedly said his finger is fine and shot down the idea that he's still dealing with rust after his monthlong absence, the first of his career. He's also defended first-year coordinator Shane Waldron, calling him a "great playcaller" this past week.
After Monday's loss Wilson said, "I could have been a little cleaner" in the second half. Coach Pete Carroll said he didn't know why Wilson continues to miss throws he normally doesn't miss, but he acknowledged that was again the case against Washington.
The Seahawks entered Monday with the NFL's worst third-down offense. They converted 4 of 12 third-down chances, with two coming on their final touchdown drive. Wilson hit Freddie Swain for a 32-yard touchdown to cap a 96-yard drive in the closing seconds, pulling Seattle to within 2. But Wilson's 2-point attempt to Swain was picked off in the back of the end zone.
The Seahawks went three-and-out on five straight possessions Monday night. They're the only team to do that this season, per ESPN Stats & Information, and they've done it twice.
QB breakdown: Three throws from Wilson in the first half suggested maybe he was back after uncharacteristically bad performances against Green Bay and Arizona. He threw two deep dimes to Tyler Lockett and a bullet to Gerald Everett for a touchdown. But the rest of his night looked like his last two games, with Wilson missing throws one of the NFL's most accurate quarterbacks typically does not miss. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
Promising trend, Part I: If there is such thing as promise in a season that's going nowhere, the Seahawks' defense is providing some. That group turned itself around after a historically bad start, had a setback last week against Colt McCoy and the Cardinals and kept the Seahawks in the game Monday night. That was despite being on the field for nearly 42 minutes with the offense unable to sustain drives. Safety Jamal Adams had his second interception in three weeks, getting an assist with a tip by linebacker Bobby Wagner and a huge hit by safety Quandre Diggs. Adams has been playing better of late.
Promising trend, Part II: Linebacker Jordyn Brooks may have played the best game of his young career. The 27th pick of the 2020 draft sniffed out a screen pass near the line of scrimmage, shot by a blocker for another nice tackle and had two big hits among his 14 total tackles, matching Wagner for the team lead. The Seahawks haven't gotten nearly enough from their early-round picks in recent seasons and this next draft will be their second straight without a first-rounder because of the Adams trade. They need Brooks to help turn the trend around.
Eye-popping NextGen Stat: Defensive end Rasheem Green completed an unprecedented hat trick when he blocked a PAT, scooped it up and returned it 94 yards for a two-point conversion. Green -- all 6-foot-4 and 279 pounds of him -- hit 18.41 MPH on his way to the end zone. That's the fastest max speed by a defensive lineman as a ball carrier since Jadeveon Clowney hit 18.59 mph during the 2019 season, when he was with Seattle. Per ESPN Stats & Information, Green is the first player to block a PAT, recover it and score on the return since the NFL rule was changed in 2015 to award two points on returned PATs. The three-point swing kept it 9-9 at the half.