As Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson walked off the field with 8 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter, his eyes stayed glued to the big screen at CenturyLink Field.
The video board showed a replay of Wilson’s interception intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin, one of many mistakes made by the offense in the Seahawks’ 39-32 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
The final score would indicate the offense did its part, but that was not the case. Wilson went 14-for-32 for 240 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled once and recovered, but the Cardinals got two points for a safety on the play.
Russell Wilson recovers his own fumble in the end zone for a safety, one of several miscues by the Seahawks offense. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
The Seahawks’ defense, which was far from perfect, led a frantic comeback in the second half after the Cardinals took a 19-0 lead.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner accounted for a touchdown, scooping up a Carson Palmer fumble and taking it to the end zone. Another Seahawks score occurred after linebacker K.J. Wright returned a fumble to the Cardinals’ 3-yard line before Marshawn Lynch ran it in.
But the truth is the inconsistency the offense showed through the first eight weeks was evident again Sunday night. Tight end Jimmy Graham had opportunities to make plays on three balls that he either dropped or had ripped out of his hands. He finished with three catches for 41 yards. Wilson was off target. And the offensive line continues to be a sore spot.
“It was really disappointing that we put out such a miserable first half of football,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We didn’t really play that game the way we wanted to play it because of all the penalties that happened that put us behind. There must have been five first-and-20s in this game, at least, and so that’s really difficult when you’re doing that to yourself.”
Time and again, penalties on offense killed Seahawks’ drives. Overall, Seattle was flagged 14 times for 131 yards.
Asked about the officiating, Carroll said, “I can’t say anything about that, sorry. We’re not allowed to.”
There’s reason to believe the defense can bounce back and play at a high level, even though it gave up too many big plays to Arizona. But the Seahawks have no idea what they are going to get from the offense on a weekly basis. That’s a major reason why the team sits at 4-5 going into the final seven games.
What it means: The Seahawks are now three games behind the Cardinals for first place in the NFC West. To even have a shot at the division, they would need the Cardinals to do no better than 4-3 the rest of the way. And even then, the Seahawks would have to win out and beat the Cardinals in Week 17. In other words, any hopes of making a playoff run starts with a potential wild-card berth.
One reason to panic: In addition to the offensive woes, the defense gave up way too many big plays against the Cardinals. Palmer piled up 363 yards passing, and running back Andre Ellington scored from 48 yards out to put the game away late in the fourth quarter.
One reason for optimism: The NFC is a mess. The Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants all lost on Sunday. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but the Seahawks still have a chance of a wild-card berth.
Fantasy watch: Lynch played with an abdominal injury, but had only eight carries (42 yards). He has dealt with four different injuries this season and missed two games.
Injuries: In his first game of the season, wide receiver Paul Richardson caught a 40-yard pass down the left sideline, racing past the defensive back. The bad news? Richardson injured his hamstring on the play and left the game. Linebacker Bruce Irvin suffered a knee injury in the second half and did not return.
Up next: The Seahawks get the San Francisco 49ers at home next week.