The return of Russell Wilson to the lineup for the Seattle Seahawks was not the cure-all envisioned to right the team's offensive woes.
For the first time in Wilson's tenure at quarterback and the first time for the franchise since 2011, the Seahawks were shut out in a 17-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Seattle had not been shutout since a 24-0 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011, a streak of 166 consecutive games without being blanked.
Wilson seemed to still be noticeably less than 100 percent with multiple passes sailing high or wide of receivers during the game. Wilson was back in the lineup for the first time since having surgery to repair multiple injuries to his middle finger sustained in early October.
"I know you're wondering 'was he ready' and all that kind of stuff. He was ready to play," head coach Pete Carroll said. "There's no other information leading into this that could tell us any different. He was pumped and got after it. They did a nice job tonight. We couldn't get enough going on to make the points we needed."
But while Wilson wasn't at his best, many of the issues seen on Sunday from the offense have been season-long ails.
The Seahawks defense put forth perhaps their top performance of the season in keeping the Packers out of the end zone until the latter stages of the fourth quarter. A.J. Dillon then was able to punch through a Seattle defense that was on the field for 39 minutes of game time with a pair of late touchdowns to set the final margin for Green Bay.
The reality is this shouldn't be a surprising result. The Seahawks are not a good football team right now. They haven't been a good football team really all season. And the return of Wilson to the lineup ultimately wasn't the band-aid the Seahawks were hoping for to fix all their offensive problems.
"It's a big opportunity that we missed out on and so it's disappointing," Carroll said. "This was a this was a real shot and we could feel it and we knew it and unfortunately we couldn't get it the right plays at the right time to get it done."
Here are the takeaways from the Seahawks 17-0 loss at Green Bay:
-- There's enough sample size now to suggest the Seahawks offense is just purely not good enough.
It hasn't mattered whether Russell Wilson or Geno Smith have been at quarterback. It hasn't mattered whether Chris Carson or Alex Collins have been at running back. It hasn't mattered whether Kyle Fuller or Ethan Pocic have been at center.
The Seahawks offense continues to be the worst offense in the league at time of possession and at number of offensive plays run. Seattle entered the game averaging approximately 25 minutes a game in time of possession and approximately 55 plays in total plays run. Both marks were worst in the NFL.
Against the Packers on Sunday, they wee out-possessed by a 39:09-20:51 margin and ran just 59 offensive plays, with several plays coming late when they were in garbage time.
"We should have won that game," Wilson said. "Our defense played great. Guys battled throughout the whole game between two really good teams. I've got to play better and that was on me. There were those two plays. That was really the game. I don't second-guess anything. I have 100 percent confidence in our team and what we can do and what I can do and what we're going to do. That's really what my mindset is."
While some rust is understandable for Wilson giving his quick return from surgery, this wasn't just an issue today. It's been an issue for Seattle when Wilson was healthy before the injury. It was an issue during the third starts made by Geno Smith.
The reality for the Seahawks in 2021 is this is who they are as an offense.
It's the fourth time in nine games this season where the Seahawks were held to less than 250 yards on total offense. They've run 60 or more plays in a game just twice all year. They have yet to win the time of possession battle in a single game this season.
There's no one reason for this. Some of the time of possession issues came from the defense being unable to get off the field early in the season. Some of it is Seattle's continued struggles on third down. Some of it is the lack of a rushing attack to compliment the passing game. And some of it is subpar passing offense too.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combining for six catches for 49 yards against a defense missing its top cornerback in Jaire Alexander isn't enough. Seattle converting third downs at a rate of just 31 percent entering Sunday and going 3-10 on third downs over the first three quarters when the game was in the balance isn't enough.
Wilson cited the two bad plays in reference to the interceptions he threw on passes intended for Metcalf and Lockett, respectively.
As Bill Parcells once said, "you are what your record says you are."
The Seahawks are the 3-6 team their record says they are. And they're the team their offensive statistics point to them being. And that team just isn't competitive enough in the NFL in 2021.
-- Russell Wilson, Seahawks continue to be unable to solve Lambeau Field problem.
The Seahawks and Russell Wilson continue their streak of being unable to win in Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
Including the postseason, Wilson is now 0-5 in his trips to Wisconsin as a professional. The Seahawks are 0-10 at Green Bay and have not won there this century. The Seahawks last win in Green Bay came in 1999 in Mike Holmgren's first season as head coach after leaving as head coach of the Packers after the 1998 season.
Wilson completed 20 of 40 passes for 161 yards and two interceptions in the loss to the Packers on Sunday. The 39.7 passer rating against Green Bay is the fourth lowest mark of his career. The fifth lowest game of his career was another loss at Green Bay in 2016 when he had a 43.7 passer rating.
"I felt 100 percent confident in our team. I felt 100 percent confident in our game plan," Wilson said. "Shane put a really good game plan together. Unfortunately it comes on my shoulders because I didn't fulfill those two big plays in those two moments. I don't ever shy away from it. When you play this position at the highest highest level, there's going to be some stuff you have to weigh on your shoulders. There's going to be some great things you get to weight on your shoulders too, more great than bad, that's what I know. ... I thought we came in prepared. And I thought we played a really good football team. I thought we were a really good football team. And when you have two costly mistakes, especially the one in the red zone, that's unfortunate."
In five games now in Green Bay, Wilson is a combined 96 of 167 (57.4 percent) for 1,042 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. That's a combined passer rating of 64.0.
-- Best game of the year for Jamal Adams as defense continues to make strides.
The Seahawks had played better defense in their three games before the bye against the Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars. However, none of those offenses would be considered juggernauts by any stretch.
But an offense with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, Davante Adams at receiver, and Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon at running back is enough firepower to be dangerous on the opposite side of the football. And for the most part, the Seahawks defense played very good football.
The Packers were held to just three points until the fourth quarter when it seemed as though the time of possession began to wear the unit down. Green Bay was just 4 of 9 on third down and failed to convert their only fourth down attempt of the day as well as Seattle's defense found ways to get off the field without points going up on the board.
"They played great," Carroll said. "They really did. In all phases. Run, pass, the whole thing. Third downs, everything. And then they got some at the end, they got us leaking a little bit and they made some third down wins. And a couple penalty situations too. But I thought they played really well."
As maligned as the play of Jamal Adams has been this season, Sunday's effort was his best of the season. Adams came up with his first interception as a Seahawk, picking off Aaron Rodgers in the end zone in the third quarter. He also racked up 11 tackles on the day, which was second to just Jordyn Brooks' 12 tackles for the Seahawks.
The interception was just the third of Adams' career. He intercepted Jarrett Stidham of the New England Patriots in 2019 while with the New York Jets and picked off Matt Cassel of the Detroit Lions in the opening game of the 2018 season.
"It doesn't matter, man. Obviously it's a good feeling but the ultimate goal is to win so I'm not really focused on that right now," Adams said of his interception.
Adams was a factor in the contest on Sunday. That's something that hasn't been a regular occurrence for the Seahawks this season after he signed his extension with the team in August.
"I think he's been playing really well," Carroll said of Adams.
"He's been playing really well. For the last five or six weeks I thought he's been playing great."
-- DK Metcalf needs to get his emotions in check.
DK Metcalf cares. You can't fault him for that. However, Metcalf has regularly gotten in trouble this season for crossing the line on the field and he crossed it again at the end of Sunday night's game in Green Bay.
Metcalf was ejected from the game with less than two minutes to play after getting into an on-field altercation with Packers defensive players. Metcalf headbutted and then grabbed the facemask of safety Henry Black before the two were separated. More Green Bay players expressed their displeasure with Metcalf when he then grabbed the facemask of cornerback Eric Stokes as well.
Metcalf was disqualified from the remainder of the game for his actions.
"I'm tired of losing," Metcalf said of the incident after the game.
Understandable. Truly. The Seahawks haven't been in this position since 2009 when they began that season 3-7 under head coach Jim Mora.
But this isn't the first incident with Metcalf this season. Metcalf was called for taunting in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts for getting in the face of Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct against Jacksonville for hopping on the goal post scoring a touchdown.
He's the most penalized player on the team this season with seven penalties called against him in nine games.
The Seahawks offense is struggling and Metcalf isn't getting the ball as much as he probably should. That was reflected in a comment Metcalf made postgame when asked about the offensive struggles.
"We got to get the ball to our playmakers and let them let them make plays," he said.
Metcalf's incident will certainly come with a fine. It's not out of the realm of possibility that it could yield a suspension because he did throw a hand at the head of Stokes at the end of the fracas. These moments are only hurting the Seahawks.
Again, Metcalf cares and that's a good thing. But he has to know how not to let that investment hurt the team he's trying to help.
Photo Credit: GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - NOVEMBER 14: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by De'Vondre Campbell #59 of the Green Bay Packers during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)