The Seahawks fell to 4-5 on the season in a huge loss to their division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals.
While the Seahawks nearly mounted a second-half comeback thanks to their defence waking up, of more concern was that Russell Wilson had his worst game of the season in one of the most important games of the year.
Wilson went just 14-32 passing, a 43% completion percentage, for 240 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a 67.2 passer rating.
The Seahawks now trail the Cardinals by three games and are two games behind the Wild Card leaders. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Seahawks would be on vacation.
While Seattle has plenty of concerns, Russell Wilson’s regression this season is alarming. Wilson is on pace for a career-high in passing yards and his completion percentage is up, but his numbers have fallen in plenty of other places. His touchdown percentage is 3.8%, down from 4.4% last year. His yards per completion are down slightly, his passer rating and QB rating are down while his interception and sack percentages are up considerably.
The Seahawks offensive line has been a huge problem this season, but Wilson hasn’t helped much. According to Football Outsiders, going into Week 10, Seattle’s offensive line was dead-last in pass protection, allowing an adjusted sack rate of 11.2%. Yet, as noted during the Seahawks-Cardinals game, Wilson has been to blame for many of them:
As CBS’ Ryan Wilson points out, Wilson hasn’t made improvements as a pocket passer. Last year, Wilson took steps in becoming an improved pocket passer, making his signature scrambles all the more deadly. This year, he hasn’t built upon his pocket-passing like many people expected.
As ESPN 710 Seattle’s Danny O’Neil argues, it’s fair to wonder if Wilson has hit his ceiling already. That’s not to say he definitively has or that he won’t get better, but O’Neil reports that prior to the draft, teams wondered if Wilson would develop quicker than expected and then stall out. This season, it’s looking like those scouting reports may have been accurate.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Wilson is struggling in a season where the Seahawks made moves to make his life easier. After a long delay, Wilson was awarded a huge contract extension, answering questions about what his future with Seattle holds. The Seahawks also improved the team around him, making a blockbuster trade for Jimmy Graham to give Wilson his most formidable target yet.
Through nine games, the Graham acquisition has been uninspiring. He’s had a couple of big games but many others where he’s been quiet, like in his three-catch, 41-yard outing against the Cardinals. The Seahawks are using Graham as a blocker more and having him run different routes, but it’s surprising Graham and Wilson haven’t developed better chemistry (his three catches came on eight targets in Week 10).
While the Seahawks still have seven weeks to turn it around, they’re facing an uphill battle. They’re tied in the NFC North with the 4-5 Rams. Seattle still has to play the Steelers, Vikings, Rams, and Cardinals over the next seven games.
Even if any of the NFC playoff teams slip up in the next few weeks, Seattle has a tough remaining schedule, with three NFC playoff opponents on the slate. A loss to the 7-2 Vikings or the Rams or the Cardinals could essentially end their season.
If the Seahawks plan to make a run, they’re going to need Wilson to return to form.
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