BY Art Thiel 06:36PM 12/14/2016

Thiel: Game of the season for Seahawks’ Wilson

No matter how dreary their seasons, the Rams seem to enjoy battering Russell Wilson. If ever he needed a bounce-back game, it’s this game against these guys.

Russell Wilson had a rare moment of clarity against the Rams in the Coliseum Sept. 19. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

For a game this late in the season, team stakes Thursday night (5:25 p.m., NBC/NFL/Twitter) against the woebegone Los Angeles Rams are relatively light, given the Seahawks’ large division lead. But for QB Russell Wilson, it’s his biggest game of the season, and one of the most significant of his career. Because in two of the past three games, he has had, as Richard Sherman might say, a poopfest.

Absent any known health issues, doubts have crept into the conversation among the chattering classes about Wilson. Five interceptions in a single game, most for a Seahawks quarterback since 1999, will do that, especially when it leads to a 38-10 blowout by the Packers. Three weeks earlier in Tampa, he commanded the offense to three points against a statistically mediocre Bucs defense.

To deepen the drama beyond the standard peskiness of a short week, Wilson meets the team that so often has clobbered him with every implement found in the kitchen, basement and barn.

Yes, the 4-9 Rams are traumatized by the Monday firing of their head coach. But the emergency replacement, John Fassel, doesn’t need much experience to hold up a Wilson photo in front of his pass rushers and shout, “Fetch!”

As to the biggest question: What in bloody hell happened to cause five picks in a game when Wilson had two in his first 342 pass attempts this season? Here’s how those closest to the situation responded this week.

Wilson: “I don’t need to go all the way through that . . . We’ll leave it with that.”

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: “We could go through each one. I’m not going to get into it, because we really have moved on.”

Head coach Pete Carroll: “I know you want to know reasons. I don’t know. That’s the way it went.”

As you can read, that was a collective nervous cough that could be measured in megatons. For a team as ultra-competitive as the Seahawks (the most competitive in NFL history, according to Steve Rudman’s research) being so non-competitive for an entire game is a soul-burner, but a pain they choose not to share via interview or Hallmark card.

Certainly, having three of the balls bang off normally reliable receivers is partly to blame. But Wilson had heaves that had no chance to go off anyone’s hands, as well as dinks that stunk.

One plausible theory is that Wilson over the past two seasons has been belted so often, thanks to the world’s least-invested offensive line, that the toll is adding up, particularly after separate ankle, knee and chest injuries left him semi-incapacitated. But if he isn’t going to explain one game’s worth of interceptions, he’s not going to discuss a case of the chronic yips.

Bevell did allow as to how Wilson, unlike the Terminator he aspires to be, does have a flicker of anger occasionally.

“Sometimes he gets a little frustrated,” he said. “We have great conversations back and forth. In that last game, I was building him up. He’s got such a great outlook on life, outlook on his abilities, outlook on his team’s abilities, so very seldom is he down.

“There’s five interceptions that happened. So I just kept talking to him about coming back. That’s gone. We just have to keep moving on.”

The ability to learn from, and then accept, errors is a fundamental in any highly competitive experience (although in rock climbing, it tends to be more of a one-and-done thing). Wilson through five seasons has shown a remarkable ability to avoid slumps lasting more than a game because of his ability to avoid staring into the rear-view mirror.

“From years ago when we got him here, he has had the demeanor that it’s the next play,” Carroll said Wednesday. “I think he’s mastered that skill. It’s a hugely valuable skill for a guy playing quarterback in this league.

“He just has a great mechanism that he can go to the next, and go to the next. It’s been important for him this week, but it’s been important for him always. Never noticed him to linger in moments in the past, never.”

The virtue is of acute value Thursday. The biggest entertainment the Rams seem to have in their otherwise dismal seasons is putting him in an airplane spin and smashing him to the mat. Piqued by his own misplay, Wilson is perhaps in the mood to believe the Rams are due for a poopfest of their own.

 

 

 

 


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    Well done Art. Maybe a spat with Ciara? Seems as good as any, as that’s the one major change in his life. He said the weather was fine and no factor, esp having played at Wisconsin. His passes were so off (Graham and Baldwin s/be TD’s) it was like watching Clipboard Jesus. Scary.

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  • Comrade Suge

    It is a big game for Wilson but nothing like a game against the Rams at home to get your rhythm going again.

  • coug73

    You can’t beat down the Law of Averages. The incalculable will catch up to a team or individual while all that can be done is the 5 P’s. Proper, Preparation, Prevents, Poor, Performances, for the most part. I except a return to better than normal today for all Hawk players.

    • 1coolguy

      Or as RW says: “The separation is in the preparation”

      • coug73

        That works for me.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    Well, if they lose they are done–figuratively.

  • Paul Harmening

    Answer: “…Hey coach, I didn’t crap in my pants this time.
    Question: What does Wilson say after tonights game with the Rams.

    CARNAC THE MAGNIFICENT

    • 1coolguy

      Ugh…………Really?

  • It’s only Sports

    You would probably have to fish back to the 1st half of his rookie season to find 2 consecutive games that Russ looked average in.If you can call the GB debacle average the odds of RW laying a 2nd egg is almost non existent. He is a big moments guy and winning the NFC West is a big moment on what for the Hawks is a historically high win percentage opp with these Nat’l TV appearances being good to the club and Pete Carroll.
    I say taking their frustrations out on the Rams with a feverish 12s crowd boosting them up will parlay to SEA easily covering the spread. Go Hawks!

  • Howard Wells

    Good read Art. Will Russell play pro-bowl level against the Rams or cement the Seahawks plunge back to mediocrity. In any case, I want to thank him for the greatest years the Seahawks have experienced!

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