Coaches and teammates expecting Russell Wilson to bounce back

Posted Dec 24, 2013

After three uncharacteristic performances, which have followed three of the best games of his career, the focus is on Russell Wilson as the second-year QB and his team have one last chance to wrap up the NFC West title.

Earlier this season, coach Pete Carroll labeled Russell Wilson the “fixer,” because of the second-year quarterback’s innate ability to correct anything that was going wrong with his game or the Seahawks’ offense.

Both are in need of a fix this week as the Seahawks prepare for their regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field, after the offense scored a season-low 10 points and Wilson passed for a career-low 108 yards in Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

In fact, the offense and Wilson have been in a three-game slump after enjoying a three-game surge (see chart).


Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson, No. 3, has followed one of the best three-game stretches in his two-season career with one of the worst three-game stretches:

Past three games
Opponent (outcome) Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Rating
49ers (L, 19-17)  25 15 .600 199 1 1 81.9
Giants (W, 23-0)  27 18 .667 206 1 1 86.3
Cardinals (L, 17-10)  27 11 .407 108 1 1 49.6
Totals  79 44 .557 513 3 3 74.5

Previous three games
Opponent (outcome) Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Rating
Falcons (W, 33-10) 26 19 .731 287 2 0 134.6
Vikings (W, 41-20)  18 13 .722 230 2 0 151.4
Saints (W, 34-7)  30 22 .733 310 3 0 139.6
Totals  74 54 .729 827 7 0 140.9

In dissecting the reasons after practice Tuesday, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell points not to No. 3 (Wilson), but another 3 (third downs).

“There were a lot of things,” Bevell said. “No. 1, we were playing a really good defense. We knew that going in. We knew that they had a good front, that they were going to really try to stop the run, that they had a great pressure package.

“But what really it boils down to is we were doing a decent job of staying on schedule, but we didn’t convert the third downs.”

In their past two games, the Seahawks have converted on five of 26 third-down situations – two of 13 against the Cardinals, for the lowest percentage (.154) since a Week 7 loss to the Raiders in Oakland in 2010 (one of 16, .063); and three of 13 against the Giants in the Meadowlands the week before.

“That’s kind of been an issue the last two weeks,” Bevell said. “That’s something we really have to take a look at again. We kind of fixed it, then we’ve kind of gone back a little bit here. So we’ve got to get that corrected.”

Not surprisingly, the Seahawks ran only 51 plays against the Cardinals, after having only 50 in a loss to the 49ers in San Francisco three weeks ago. Those are the second- and third-fewest number of plays this season, behind the 40 plays the Seahawks ran in their 14-9 victory the Rams in St. Louis in Week 8, when they converted two of 11 third-down situations.

“It definitely makes it a struggle, whether you’re calling two runs, or you’re calling a pass and a run, or two passes,” Bevell said. “Even if you’re in manageable (situations) and not convert on third down, it cuts it short.

“Everything gets cut back, the number of runs and number of passes, what you’re trying to do, the flow of the offense. It’s all really affected.”

Which focuses the what’s-up questions on Wilson, because as the quarterback he’s the one with the ball in his hands on every play. And, the way he has been playing the past three weeks is uncharacteristic of the way he had played in the previous 20 games – when the Seahawks were 18-2; and especially the previous three games – when his passer rating was 140.9, because he had seven TD passes and no interceptions while completing 73 percent of his passes for an average of 276 yards.

But Wilson’s teammates and coaches see this as a blip, rather than a real source for concern.

“Not at all. Not at all,” Bevell said when asked if there was any reason for consternation. “He plays well all the time. He puts forth great effort. He works hard. He communicates with our guys really well. So there’s no doubt that he’ll get it done.”

The evidence of the effort came Monday morning – very early Monday morning – when Carroll arrived at Virginia Mason Athletic Center at 4:45, only to find Wilson already breaking down video of the loss to the Cardinals.

“I don’t worry about Russell,” fullback Michael Robinson said. “Just to be good in this league in general, you have to be your own biggest critic. And he is his own biggest critic. Games where everybody would think he played the best, he points to when he didn’t carry out a fake or he points to where he threw the ball a little low, or something like that.

“So he’s his own biggest critic and I think that’s the biggest thing to his success so far and I think it will carry him into a great future.”

The future that counts most right now is Sunday’s win-and-you-win-so-much matchup with the Rams, when the Seahawks’ “fixer” needs to do his thing one more time.