The Seahawks and Russell Wilson are confident that he will bounce back after throwing five interceptions Sunday against the Packers.
Russell Wilson kept thinking it would turn around Sunday. And who could blame him?
Since he became Seattle’s quarterback in 2012, the Seahawks had never lost a game by more than 10 points as they headed to Green Bay Sunday.
So even as time kept ticking down while Green Bay’s lead kept building up, Wilson clung to a belief that a comeback — like the ones he’d helped lead so many times before — was still possible.
“There’s five minutes to go and he’s fighting not to be taken out of the game,’’ said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. “He still feels like if there’s one click on the clock still up there, then we have a chance to win. And you love that mentality in your quarterback.’’
On Sunday night, though, there was no rally, only some dubious history as the Seahawks lost 38-10, their worst defeat since the 2010 season, while Wilson threw five interceptions, the most for any Seattle quarterback since 1999.
That same resolute belief that there was still time to turn things around Wilson showed on the Sunday sideline, tough, is what Seattle coaches and players say will help Wilson now quickly rebound from what was the worst game of his NFL career.
“I’m confident in him,’’ said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “I know he’s going to do great in this game (Thursday against the Rams). Probably throw like five touchdowns.’’
Wilson can also lean on some of his own history.
The loss was the worst he had suffered since he was the starting quarterback at North Carolina State in 2009 and lost a game by the exact same 38-10 score to Virginia Tech. Due to sacks, Wilson lost minus-43 yards rushing in the game and also threw an interception — intriguingly enough, to now Seattle teammate Kam Chancellor.
A week later, Wilson threw four touchdown passes, one for the winning score in the fourth quarter, as NC State upset rival North Carolina, 28-27.
When he met the media for his weekly press conference Tuesday, Wilson said the ability to move past struggles quickly is simply a part of playing sports.
“We missed,’’ Wilson said succinctly during his weekly meeting with the media Tuesday in assessing what happened against the Packers. “We went to the free throw line and didn’t make our free throws that night. We went to the plate, and sometimes you have a few strikeouts and you may have a pop fly. But hopefully the next night you come back out and you go four for four.’’
If Wilson needs some additional comfort, though, he could also review the list of quarterbacks to throw at least five interceptions in a game in the last 20 years. According to Pro Football Reference, Wilson is the 32nd player since 1996 to throw five interceptions in one game. The list includes all-time greats such as Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Eli Manning.
What Wilson inisisted he wasn’t doing much was reviewing what happened against Green Bay. That the Seahawks play on Thursday has meant the team had to quickly start preparing for the Rams — a particularly timely and convenient occurrence in this instance.
Wilson said he watched the film on the bus going from Lambeau Field to the plane, and then again on the plane ride back to Seattle and then set all memories of Green Bay aside.
Asked what happened on the five interceptions, Wilson said “I don’t need to go all the way through that. For whatever reason, they made a few more plays than us.’’
What teammates and coaches also noted is that three of his interceptions were deflected off of either Green Bay defenders of Seattle receivers, including one that went through the hands of usually reliable Doug Baldwin and off his facemask.
“He takes it all on his shoulders,’’ Baldwin said. “But the truth of the matter is it wasn’t on his shoulders. There were a couple of interceptions in there that were on us as receivers and we’ve got to do better for him. And we know as a unit we’ve got to do better for him. So he will take the blame but the truth of the matter is as an offensive unit we’ve got to do better … simple as that.’’
Wilson hadn’t thrown more than two interceptions in a regular season game since the fourth game of his NFL career at St. Louis in 2012 (though he also threw four against Green Bay in the 2015 NFC Championship game) before Sunday.
Wilson also had thrown just two interceptions in his first 342 attempts this season, just three games ago on pace for one of the lowest single-season interception rates in NFL history.
Suddenly, he has thrown eight in the last three games, with his 10 for this season already tied for the most he has tossed in any full season.
The spate of picks has also come at a time when many of the explanations for offensive struggles earlier in the season appear in the past. Wilson is healthy after suffering three separate injuries in the first half of the year, and the running game has been as effective the last month as at any other point this season.
And while the offensive line has gone through its own changes and struggles, Wilson is on track to be sacked less this season than last year — he’s been sacked 32 times this season compared to 45 sacks in 2015.
The amount of times he’s been hit is also no more than a year ago — the NFL lists the Seahawks as having allowed 85 quarterback hits this year compared to 114 last season.
If Wilson suddenly throwing five interceptions in one game after having only thrown five in the first 12 didn’t make much sense, then maybe that’s the point, the way Bevell saw it. He insisted there were was no overriding reason for it, that it was just one of those nights — one they don’t expect to happen again.
“Missed a couple of throws,’’ Bevell said. “A couple of throws went off people’s hands. So we learn from it and we have moved on.’’