There are three more games this season for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, barring the most mathematically improbable run to the playoffs the NFL may ever have seen.
And for Wilson, there are maybe even that many more questions circling over his head as he finishes his 10th season in Seattle.
Did he come back too soon from injury? Is his finger still bothering him? Why doesn’t he run like he used to?
And most vitally of all, could these last two home games really be it for him in Seattle?
When Wilson talked to the media Thursday he sidestepped any big-picture queries, as any longtime Wilson watcher would have expected.
Wilson, for instance, was asked a question about Sunday’s opponent — the Chicago Bears — and the report last spring that the Seahawks considered a trade offer from Chicago before coach Pete Carroll blocked it.
The Bears were reported to be one of four teams that Wilson would waive his no-trade clause for, the others being the Saints, Cowboys and Raiders.
“Listen, I’m focused on right here,’’ Wilson said when asked about the trade rumors of last spring. “The best thing that I can do is focus on today. Today is the only day that I get. With everything going on in the world, and everything else, being appreciative of this game and everything, that is my responsibility, today, and just loving the process. I love this team, I love all of the guys on this team and I love everything about it.’’
Wilson also said “my mind’s not wavering. Everybody wants to talk about this or that. I’m not going to let it waver my mind or my mindset and what I want to do and how I can go about my business.’’
Wilson insists that business is winning as many games as the Seahawks can the rest of the way.
Wilson was more insightful when it came to the topic of his health, and specifically his recovery from a middle finger injury suffered on Oct. 7 against the Rams that caused him to have surgery the next day and miss three games.
Wilson returned Nov. 14 against Green Bay, a 17-0 defeat, the start of three defeats in a row that helped plunge the Seahawks from the playoffs — the first time in his career they had been shutout.
Thursday, Wilson gave maybe his most frank assessment of his condition at the time of the Green Bay game, saying “was I 100%? Definitely not. But I think at the same time you go out there and you learn as much as you can learn and play as hard as you can and try to help us win and unfortunately it didn’t go that way. But I would say it really felt good and really probably at six weeks maybe I felt really good coming back.’’
Still, Wilson’s 2021 campaign clearly looks like a tale of two seasons: BI (before injury) and AI (after injury).
Before the injury Wilson completed 90 of 125 passes for 1,196 yards and had a 10-1 TD-to-INT ratio while completing 72% of his passes and a passer rating of 125.2 in four games and a little more than half of another.
Since, in six full games, Wilson has completed 118 of 193 passes (61%) for 1,262 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions, a rating of 82.01.
“Before I got injured I felt like I was playing some of the best football in my career,’’ Wilson said.
He unquestionably has not since. While the injury and the time away — Wilson returned to practice 31 days following his surgery — were obvious reasons for his uncharacteristic play. Wilson has generally resisted, well, pointing a finger that direction.
“I told you guys that I’ve played dinged up before. I’ve played with injuries, and not everything is perfect,’’ Wilson said. “I think that’s what you have to do along the way. … You know the past several games, felt the ball is coming out of my hand great, felt really good and threw it really confident.’’
So what happened against the Rams, a game that Pro Football Focus graded as the worst of his career, a game in which he misfired a few times in the direction of DK Metcalf, particularly on a potential touchdown pass in the fourth quarter?
“I think this past game, it was a tough battle,’’ Wilson said of Tuesday’s 20-10 loss. “It’s a really good football team and you know, it happens, and you just wake up the next day and you just focus on the task.’’
One of those tasks this week is to get past an ankle he said “got smashed up a little bit’’ on a sack midway through the game.
Wilson didn’t miss a snap and appears on track to play this week, listed as a full participant in practice Thursday.
“I’m feeling good, trying to get better every day with it,’’ Wilson said before Thursday’s practice. “And I’m working 24/7 around the clock with it. Obviously, this is a short week with the game being moved to Tuesday, so I’m getting after it. I was at walk-through and practice today, so I’m feeling good.”
The ankle might have been one reason Wilson did not have a rushing attempt in Tuesday’s game for the first time this season and only the second time in his career — the other coming in a 2018 home game against the Rams.
Wilson, who turned 33 last month, has just 14 attempts for 73 yards rushing in the six games since his return and has just 141 yards on 31 carries in 11 games this season. He is averaging just 2.8 rushing attempts and 12.8 rushing yards per game compared to his career averages of 5.4 and 30.0.
So why is that?
“It’s nothing on purpose,’’ Wilson said. “I think it’s just playing the game. I’m always ready to move when I need to. We picked up some huge first downs in the Houston game (Dec. 12) on third downs, so it’s not that I’m not looking to run or anything like that. If it’s there, I take it, and if not, then I try to find another play.”
And the next play this year, Wilson insisted, still has meaning, even if the season no longer really doesn’t.
“We should have won some games early and obviously the finger gets hurt and everything else happens,’’ Wilson said. “We are where we are right now and I’m going to put my two feet on the ground and give everything I have every day. That’s all I know.’’