The Seattle Seahawks and their franchise quarterback are going through a difficult time.
The 'Hawks continued to lose on Monday night, falling 17-15 to the host Washington Football Team as their offence continued to falter.
Russell Wilson finally addressed the media almost 90 minutes after he and the Seahawks' struggling offensive unit had one last gasp at an unbelievable comeback fall short. Wilson's crimson eyes reflected the top quarterback's distress as he endured his worst season yet.
"It's challenging right now, but, at the same time, I know what we're capable of. What we're capable of has to show up. We have to make that happen," said Wilson, who threw his first two touchdowns in the last three games. "I don't know any other way. I'm not one of those guys to be down and out and not believe and give up; give up and give in. I'm gonna keep working my butt off every day. This team is, too. That's what we're gonna make sure of."
While optimism and effort are not in short supply, the outcomes are.
Since Wilson's return from finger surgery, the Seahawks have scored only 28 points in their last three games. The Seahawks offence has a slew of issues, but Wilson's performance may be at the top of the list for the first time in a decade.
"Well, the results aren't showing that. The results and the way we're playing, it isn't showing up. He's got to do better, we all got to do better," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said when asked if Wilson looked at all like the Wilson of old.
Wilson has looked anything but himself in his comeback after missing the first three games of his career due to finger surgery earlier this season. He wasn't regularly playing at the high level he was used to prior to the injury, and he's failed to make things happen for the Seahawks since his return.
"Film doesn't lie. We're missing some stuff. I don't see indications of that in practice," Carroll said of Wilson's play. "I don't know what to make of it other than the fact that we gotta keep battling, keep trying to figure it out. I thought we had some guys open tonight, with some chances, and unfortunately we didn't hook it up."
The Seahawks dropped to 3-8 on the season, losing their third game in a row with only 267 yards of offence (96 of which came on their last drive).
Following Monday's loss, the Seahawks are the NFC's No. 15 seed, trailing only the winless Detroit Lions. Seattle hasn't missed the playoffs since 2017, but it appears that it will do so again this year. Seattle hasn't experienced a losing season since 2011, Wilson's rookie year, but that appears to be a possibility as well.
Wilson's statistics at the end of the game painted a misleading picture of his accomplishment. He threw for 241 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a 110.6 passer rating on 20 of 31 passing attempts. He also led the team in rushing with 16 yards on two tries.
Wilson routinely missed open targets, often by a huge margin, on a bad night for the offence. His ability to read the field didn't appear to be as good as it had been. Several times, his characteristic lovely deep ball appeared to be rather unappealing. According to Next Gen Stats, he was 4 of 9 for 139 yards and a touchdown on passes of 10-plus air yards. Most of those yards came on a 55-yard pass to Tyler Lockett, who had to wait for it. Three plays later, he delivered a 6-yard laser into a tight window to Gerald Everett for a score, which might have been his best pass since returning to the team in Week 10, but it was hardly representative of his evening.
"Today, I missed a couple," said Wilson, who's lost three consecutive starts for the first time in his career. "There's one that I threw really high, because I was getting knocked back, I threw high. I think earlier on, just adjust my eyes a little bit. It wasn't like I didn't feel confident with it.
"I know that sometimes you shoot it and it doesn't go in. I'm gonna keep shooting."
Washington was on the verge of clinching the game late in the game, leading 17-8 and driving for a touchdown. Then, suddenly, life was injected into the Seahawks' last hope.
First, Washington running back Antonio Gibson was unable to remain in bounds, allowing the Seahawks to save valuable time on the clock.
Then, with kicker Joey Slye hurt, Washington decided not to attempt a chip shot field goal.
Then Logan Thomas' game-winning touchdown was reversed, and Seattle took possession with less than two minutes remaining, behind by eight points.
Wilson looked like the Wilson of old, with magic in his arm and something special always in reserve, for ten plays and 96 yards (actually nine plays, as Wilson was sacked outside the pocket).
He connected with Freddie Swain for a 32-yard touchdown pass deep over the middle, cutting the Seahawks' deficit to the final score. Wilson's two-point pass to Swain was intercepted by Kendall Fuller, continuing the Seahawks' woes. Before the reality of another defeat, there was a glimmer of glory.
The Seahawks and their franchise quarterback are going through some difficult times right now.
"We're in a storm, you know, and I believe that we have to keep going," Wilson said. "The only way to get to the other side is just believing that the waters are going to calm down a little bit and we'll be able to get through it. I think that this season has been a tough journey so far just in general. We've had some crazy tough games and battled , battled, battled. The last few minutes of the game showed we have the right character of guys – that's what's special about this team. Just to believe that something great is going to happen when we're down by eight."