RENTON -- Any margin for error the Seattle Seahawks may have still had to play with seems to have completed disappeared after last week's loss to the Green Bay Packers.
If the Seahawks still fancy themselves to be a playoff team, they have to start winning. Right now.
"We know what we're capable of and now we've got to show it," quarterback Russell Wilson said on Thursday. "We've got to make it happen. We can't hope and wish. We've got to do."
The Seahawks are off to their worst start in the Pete Carroll era and have their worst record through nine games since 2009. Through nine games, the Seahawks have twice as many losses as they have victories. The offense statistically ranks as one of the worst in multiple categories and Wilson is coming off one of the worst games of his career in his return to action last week in Green Bay.
Wilson says there is still faith that they can do the things necessary to start getting those victories.
"I think the urgency is high, but I think it's also poised," Wilson said.
"I think the best thing we can do is continue just to grow as players, continue to grow as a team, continue to grow in the midst of the little things and then just focus on the fundamentals throughout the game, throughout the week. Do that and the rest will handle itself, I think. We have great confidence, a lot of great players. If we can make all three parts collectively click at the same time -- sometimes we're on on offense in the first quarter maybe and then off in the second or vice versa, and then the defense has been rolling the past few weeks -- if we can marry all of that together ... we can do it and we really believe that."
If Wilson is correct, the Seahawks offense will have to start doing things much better than they've shown throughout most of the season.
Seattle is dead last in the league in both offense plays run and time of possession. And not by negligible margins either. The Seahawks trail the 31st ranked Jacksonville Jaguars in time of possession by over two minutes a game on average. Seattle is averaging just 25:18 of possession each game through nine games played. The Jaguars are next worst on the list with 27:22 a game. Teams 1-31 in the NFL are separated by 5:30 in time of possession average. The Seahawks trail the 31st team by 2:04 a game.
Because they possess the ball for such a short period of time, the Seahawks are also worst in the league in offensive plays run. Seattle is averaging just 55.7 plays run per game. They've run 60 plays in a game just twice in nine games. They run three fewer plays a game than the 31st ranked team in the NFL in the category in the Houston Texans.
So why are these numbers happening? Early in the season, the defense's inability to get out of the field and propensity to allow long, sustained drives from their opponent was part of the problem. However, Seattle's offense is among the worst in the league on third down conversions as well.
The Seahawks have converted just 33 of 98 chances on third down, which is 33.7 percent. That mark puts Seattle 30th in the league in the category ahead of only the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Wilson himself has been extremely poor on third down too. He's completed just 13 of 32 pass attempts on third down so far this season. That's a completion percentage of 40.6 percent. He's thrown for 218 yards with two touchdowns, an interception, nine sacks and a 72.1 passer rating. They've also converted just 10 times on third down on those pass attempts. Wilson's completion percentage on third down is the worst in the NFL of any quarterback that has at least 15 attempts. By comparison, backup quarterback Geno Smith is 15 of 22 (68.2 percent) for 139 yards on third down with eight conversions during his efforts in relief of an injured Wilson.
Wilson should absolutely get some slack for Sunday's performance against the Packers given it was his first game back from a serious finger injury. He misfired on throws he typically is able to make without much thought. It's wholly understandable that he could have some rust and struggle trying to adapt around his injury. But this isn't just a one game issue for Wilson or the Seahawks offense.
"Not executing the plays that's being called," wide receiver DK Metcalf said of the issues the offense has been experiencing. "Even if Shane [Waldron] doesn't call the right play, there's still answers. Russ is still a mobile quarterback that can extend plays and we just got to get open when our number is called and just make the play."
If the Seahawks can't get improved play from its offense and its star quarterback -- and get it immediately -- the team will likely continue its downward spiral. The defense has righted itself and is playing at a level completely sufficient to compete on a weekly basis. The offense needs to do the same and it's going to face an extremely difficult task in the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. The Cardinals rank fourth in the NFL in both points per game and total defense. They are the league's fifth-best passing defense, allowing just 206.4 yards per game.
"Obviously coming out of this past week, we need to do a better job of putting points on the board and that's the bottom line," offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said. "But the way that the players are competing at practice, the way they're still looking to improve, the way they're still engaged in the meetings, that's what tells me, hey, these guys know we're right on the cusp of this thing. So no one's giving into any of the ups and downs of the season so far and everyone is just making those weekly improvements. Today was one of the best days we've had all year out there throwing the ball and playing good football in all the phases we worked on today."
The Seahawks need to cross that threshold imminently if they want to save their season. A win against Arizona would go a long way toward getting them back on track.
Photo Credit: GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 14: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is pursued by Kenny Clark #97 of the Green Bay Packers during a game at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 17-0. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)