Another game, another loss, and the same story for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks offense struggled to accomplish much of anything for most of Monday night's 17-15 loss to the Washington Football Team. A frenzied finish gave Seattle the chance to improbably tie the game inside the final 30 seconds only to come up short with a failed two-point conversion.
But despite being a two-point result, the game never felt that close as Washington dominated the contest for much of the night.
Seattle's defense put together a valiant effort to keep the team in the contest until the closing minutes despite being on the field for another 40 minutes tonight. They are doing their part. Russell Wilson and the offense is the side of the ball that's continually coming up short.
The Seahawks continue to get absolutely dominated in time of possession each week. They don't run nearly enough plays on offense because their third down numbers have been atrocious. And three weeks on since returning from surgery on his injured finger, Wilson is a shell of his former star self.
For the current iteration of the Seahawks to win games, they need Wilson to be his standout self. Whether it's ongoing issues with the finger or something else, Wilson just isn't that player right now.
Here are the takeaways from Monday night's loss to Washington:
-- Different opponent, same story for Seahawks.
It's the same story every week right now for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks will lose the time of possession battle, usually by a significant margin. They will run far fewer offensive plays than their opponent and rarely will they sniff 60 plays run in a game. They will be bad on third down offensively. They will struggle to get off the field defensively, even if they aren't always giving up touchdowns.
It's just a wash-rinse-repeat scenario for Seattle every week.
Against Washington, Seattle lost the time of possession battle 41:40 to 18:20, they ran just 45 offensive plays to the 79 of Washington, they converted just 4-of-12 chances on third down and saw Washington pick up 27 first downs to their 10.
Seattle had five straight possessions where they failed to pick up a single first down. It's only the second time all season, per ESPN Stats & Information, that a team has gone three-and-out on five consecutive drives. The other? The Seahawks in Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers.
The 18:20 time of possession is a new season low, surpassing last week's 19:38 against the Arizona Cardinals, which surpassed the previous week's 20:51 against the Green Bay Packers. The 45 offensive plays run is a new season low, surpassing last week's 49 plays against the Cardinals. The 10 first downs is a new season low. They now also rank dead last in the NFL in third down conversion rate at 32.5 percent.
"Third downs don’t let us go. It’s such an obvious issue for us that we aren’t converting," Carroll said. "...There’s just so few plays that every single play counts so much, and we’re just not getting it going.
The Seahawks entered Monday night as the NFL's worst team in both time of possession and plays run by a significant amount and then posted their worst performances of the season in both categories. It's the third straight week where the Seahawks have essentially been doubled up by their opponent in time of possession.
Not all of that statistic falls on the offense as the defense allowing some really lengthy drives from their opponents plays into the equation as well. But even with losing time of possession by such substantial margins the last three weeks, the defense has held opponents to less than 20 points in two of those three games. Seattle is now sixth in the league in scoring defense at just 20.5 points per game. They're (mostly) doing their part.
-- Russell Wilson and the offense are a total disaster right now.
The offense is not doing their part. Not anywhere close.
Russell Wilson is playing some of the worst football of his professional career right now. And don't let Wilson's final statistics from Monday night's loss skew the thoughts on how he played.
Wilson finished the game 20-of-31 for 247 yards with two touchdowns. However, 94 of those yards came on two completions to Tyler Lockett, one of which was a busted coverage from Washington. Then another 86 yards came on the team's final drive of the game when Washington was playing softer and just trying to run out the clock and Seattle trailed by eight.
Wilson and the Seahawks cannot sustain offense in their current form. If they don't hit a big play, it seems as though most drives are doomed to failure.
Wilson remains the worst quarterback in the NFL this season on third down. Wilson was actually more successful on Monday night than he'd been in a while, too, completing 4-of-9 attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown to Gerald Everett. The 55-yard completion to Lockett makes up the majority of that amount. But or the season, Wilson is completing just 36.9 percent of his throws on third down (17-of-46) for 299 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He's also been sacked 12 times and has a passer rating of just 72.6 on third downs.
Considering Wilson has played just three games following his finger surgery, not all of those struggles can be attributed to an injured finger.
Speaking of which, Wilson has said repeatedly that the finger isn't an issue for him at this point.
"I feel really good. ... My finger's not the issue," he said after Monday's game. "I think we just got to figure out how to be better."
If it's not the finger, than what exactly accounts for throws like these?
The reality is that the finger likely still is an issue for Wilson in some capacity. He could be hesitating to step through his throws subconsciously worrying about having his hand collide with another player or helmet once again. Whatever the reason, Wilson is not making the throws he's accustomed to making.
"The film doesn't lie, you know. We're missing some stuff," Carroll said of Wilson after the game. "I don't know what to make of it. Other than the fact we got to keep battling and keep trying to figure it out. I felt like there's some guys open tonight with some chances and unfortunately didn't pick it up."
The reality is that the Seahawks offense has not been very good since the middle part of last season. The struggles in the second half of that season are why the team made a change at offensive coordinator this offseason and looked to revamp their approach. But a lot of the same issues are persisting and Wilson's play has declined.
The finger injury is almost certainly responsible for some of Wilson's struggles even if he says otherwise. But if you take him at his word that the finger has nothing to do with the problems at the moment, that means that there's something else, and something potentially more significant, as the root cause of the struggles.
-- A couple quick hit thoughts.
- Terrific effort from Rasheem Green to block an extra point try from Joey Slye and return it 75 yards for a defensive two-point conversion. Green had to stiff-arm punter Tress Way out of the way and spring free for the score to get the game back tied, 9-9, before halftime.
- Putrid night from the officiating crew in Washington. The defensive holding call against Ugo Amadi on Washington's final drive of the first half was marginal at best. Throw in the fact the flag and penalty didn't come against Amadi until well after the play's conclusion and it seemed even more puzzling. Additionally, the roughing the passer call against Rasheem Green for supposedly landing with his body weight on quarterback Taylor Heinicke was also an incredibly marginal decision. The two penalties helped Washington helped take the lead before Green's two-point conversion tied the game back up.
- Solid night from Jordyn Brooks. He's had his issues in coverage this season and in defending screen passes. While both are still a work in progress, Brooks made several big tackles on the night for Seattle in matching Bobby Wagner with 14 tackles on the night.
Photo Credit: LANDOVER, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Football Team intercepts a pass intended for Freddie Swain #18 of the Seattle Seahawks for a two point conversion during the fourth quarter at FedExField on November 29, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)