Russell Wilson, the one-time minor-league baseball player, and the one-time NFL MVP front-runner, stepped up to the podium Sunday evening and offered a baseball analogy that, for him, helps characterize the state of the Seattle Seahawks.
“Sometimes you go up to the plate,” he said via Zoom, “and you don’t have your way. That’s what it was today.”
No, Wilson did not have his way Sunday in a 23-16 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles, continuing a confounding midseason slump for the Seahawks star quarterback in what was his most dreadful performance of the year.
Most puzzling of all — way out of left field — was a second-quarter interception in the end zone when Wilson threw across his body and across the far side of the field (while he had a wide-open field in front of him to run for what could have been a sure first down).
“It was a bad play,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It was a decision that rarely have we seen Russ do. … He does miraculous things often. That wasn’t one of them.”
Two weeks ago, the Seahawks looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Two weeks ago, Wilson looked like the surefire favorite to win his first MVP.
Oh, how quickly things have shifted, and shifted so dramatically.
The Seahawks (6-3) have lost two in a row, and they have little time to figure out why. The Arizona Cardinals (6-3) come to Seattle on Thursday night with first place in the NFC West on the line.
It was in Arizona last month that the wheels began to fall off for Wilson, who threw three interceptions in an overtime loss. Last week, Wilson had four giveaways when the Seahawks were thumped in Buffalo.
He was credited with three more turnovers in L.A. on Sunday — two interceptions and one lost fumble on a bad snap from first-time center Kyle Fuller. Wilson didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season — and for the first time since playing the Rams last December — and finished with season lows in just about every statistical category.
The Seahawks’ November QB bears little resemblance to the Seahawks’ September QB.
“I just got to get better,” Wilson said. “I’m not going to make it overly complicated. It’s not on anybody but me. I put it on my shoulders, and we’ll get it fixed.”
Wilson was sacked five times and hit 11 times in the loss at Buffalo, a performance that veteran left tackle Duane Brown called “unacceptable.”
“Russell is extremely important to our team and our success,” Brown said last week. “I hate to see him get hit, and I relayed that message and we’re all committed to correcting everything that happened last week.”
It got worse Sunday against the Rams, who sacked Wilson six times and hit him 12 times, both season highs.
The Rams held the Seahawks, the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense, to a season-low 16 points. Seattle’s only points in the second half came on a Jason Myers field goal with 25 seconds remaining.
After the game, Wilson said he remains confident in this team, and in himself.
“Sometimes you get knocked down,” he said. “But the one thing I know about myself — I’m always going to get up. I’m always going to get up, and I’m always going to keep swinging. And that’s just my mentality. So I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to the next day. I look forward to the next game. That’s where my mindset is.”