Takeaways from Seahawks 23-13 loss to the Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is hit by Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

The Seahawks can probably begin preparing for the 2022 season at this point.

Despite being without starting quarterback Kyler Murray and star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the Arizona Cardinals came into Seattle on Sunday and clowned the Seahawks in a 23-13 victory.

The 10-point final margin wasn't really that close either. Matt Prater missed a pair of short field goals and an extra point that would have made the final score far more representative of the qualitative difference in Sunday's outcome.

Instead of Russell Wilson, it was Colt McCoy that looked like the star veteran quarterback carrying his team to victory on Sunday.

Wilson, in his two games returning from finger surgery, has been mediocre at best for Seattle. And while some of that can be expected given the severity of his injury, the struggles of Wilson aren't just limited to this two-game stretch either. More on that later.

Seattle is now 3-7 and most reasonable hopes of finding a way to backdoor into the postseason seem to have been extinguished with the loss to Arizona on Sunday. The team has scored one offensive touchdown in its last 10 quarters dating back to a Halloween victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. They get destroyed in time of possession on a weekly basis and were again out-possessed by their opponent by over a 2-1 margin on Sunday.

"It's really surprising now that we're back with Russ and we're having such a hard time scoring and moving the football," head coach Pete Carroll said.

"I don't know why it's became a mystery to us to score points. That's never been the issue, and we've always been able to move the ball and score and stuff. I don't know why this time frame -- it started when Russ got banged up, and then it hasn't -- we just haven't got productive like we need to be, and we've got to get back on track."

The defense gave up several long drives and over 400 yards of total offense to McCoy and the Cardinals. However, they did do a valiant job -- with some help from Prater -- to keep the score within reach for the offense. But Wilson and the offense was again unable to answer the call.

Here are the takeaways from Sunday's loss to the Cardinals:

-- Russell Wilson, third downs, time of possession all extremely bad for the Seahawks.

Russell Wilson is the worst quarterback in the NFL on third down.

That's not a misprint.

Russell Wilson is the worst quarterback in the NFL this season when it comes to third down success.

Wilson has, by far, the worst completion percentage in the league of any quarterback with at least 15 attempts in such situations. Wilson has completed just 13-of-37 passes on third down with 11 sacks and a passer rating of just 62.7. He's thrown for 218 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Seahawks have converted just 10 times on third down with Wilson as a passer.

"When we were chunking plays and going first down, second downs, and having fast drives and moving the ball quickly, you know, we weren't aware of the issue," Carroll said. "But even then, when we did have our third down opportunities, remember, we were erratic with our ability to move the football, and it's just been amplified now when we're not hitting the bigger plays."

On Sunday against the Cardinals, it was more of the same.

As a team, Seattle was 2-of-10 on third down. Both conversions came in the running game with Wilson picking on a third-and-1 on a quarterback sneak and DeeJay Dallas converted a third-and-1 right ahead of their only touchdown of the game. Wilson was 0-of-5 with two sacks on seven drop backs on third down against Arizona.

Wilson is now completing just 35.1 percent of his pass attempts on third down. He's also being sacked on one out of every five drop backs on third down.

"We had a few third and longs," Wilson said. "They made a couple of good plays, a couple of situations. You've got to look at it. I think the biggest thing for us is that we just have got to find ways -- third downs is always about making plays and finding a way. I think that's really what it is. We've got to figure out what that is and figure out how to do it, and it takes a couple more third downs a game, conversions, that's really -- if we can convert one more, then the next drive, just that next one, and so that's what we have to stay focused on. We have to do better."

Not all of that falls on Wilson's shoulders. There are other factors that play into that statistic being what it is. But Wilson's play not being sufficient is a sizable part of that pie as well.

Wilson's struggles are one part of the many issues the offense has dealt with this season. Once again, the Seahawks lost the time of possession battle by a sizable amount and were limited to just 49 offensive plays run. Seattle has been the worst team in the league in those categories all season and those faults continued on Sunday.

Entering this week, the Seahawks were averaging 25:18 in time of possession through the first nine games of the season and an average of just 55.7 plays per game. Against Arizona, they were out-possessed by a 40:22-19:38 margin. Last week against the Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks were out-possessed by a 39:09-20:51 margin.

Time of possession doesn't guarantee anything offensively, but to be so regularly out-possessed by an opponent seems to be the manifestation of all the team's issues in that statistic.

"It's hard when we have a great week each week (in practice). It's not like (Carroll) is just saying it. We are having a great week and then we come out here and you're getting the same results," receiver Tyler Lockett said. "It's something that does challenge you as a man and you've got to be able to keep on grinding and keep moving forward, doing whatever you need to do to be able to turn things around.

"I think everybody's tired of losing. But for us, we got to be able to learn from it and be able to figure out what it is that we need to do to not experience the same results every time that we're playing."

-- Another downer for Seahawks as Tre Brown lost to serious knee injury.

One of Seattle's bright spots in an ugly season has been the place of rookie cornerback Tre Brown the last several weeks since entering the starting lineup.

But Brown appears to be lost for the season after going down with a serious knee injury in the second quarter.

Brown was guarding Cardinals receiver A.J. Green when his leg buckled and he fell to the turf. He remained down for several minutes as he was attended to by the training staff before getting up and limping off to the locker room. Brown walked off on his own but did so very gingerly favoring his injured leg.

Head coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Brown injured his patella tendon, which is the same injury Jimmy Graham once had with the Seahawks in 2015.

"He has a patellar tendon injury, and those are pretty tough," Carroll said.

Carroll didn't say whether the injury would be season-ended but it almost certainly would be.

Brown has had a fantastic start to the season for Seattle. Via ProFootballFocus, Brown was the only rookie in the league this year to play at least 100 snaps and not allow a 15-yard catch entering this week. Unfortunately, the Green catch over him as he was injured ended that streak. He also entering the game allowing just a 51.0 passer rating on balls thrown his direction.

If the tendon is ruptured, it will be a long road to recovery and a really tough end to Brown's rookie season.

-- Pete Carroll not used to being in this situation, searching for answers.

Head coach Pete Carroll isn't used to leading a team that is struggling this badly to win football games. Carroll initially cut his press conference postgame short as he felt like this loss Sunday was the same story and script they've seen so often this season.

"It really comes down to them being able to convert and us not. I'm sorry. It's not a different story. Been the same story in and out of this whole season, and we've got to see if we can turn it. I'm really done. Thank you," Carroll said as he departed the scene.

After reporters spoke with Jamal Adams and Jordyn Brooks, Carroll made a return to the interview room to take more questions and apologized for cutting his time short.

"I know that you probably have more questions. I don't know if I have answers, but I'll try," Carroll said.

Ultimately, Carroll just hasn't found a way to get his team to the level he believes they should be performing at.

"I'm just not any good at this. I'm not prepared for this," Carroll said. "This is not -- I'm struggling to do a good job of coaching when you are getting your butt kicked week in and week out. It's just new territory, and I'm competing every way I can think of, but I'm just unfamiliar with it.

"I'm disappointed. I don't have any new answers for you in similar situations. That's a real challenge for this staff. We have to find our ways to get our guys to execute better so that we're not in the same situation. It's like the same story. And that can drive you a little batty."

Carroll and the players have routinely said they're putting in good work in practice. But it's just not showing up enough on the field.

"It's disappointing, but I also know that every guy in that locker room has the right intentions and hope and dreams and beliefs that we can fix and we will fix it," Wilson said. "I know the past game or two, whatever, it doesn't feel like it or even the past several weeks, to be honest with you, but I also know what we're capable of. I know that I see it every day in practice."

Carroll has known all season the third down numbers aren't good enough. He's known that the time of possession and number of offensive plays run aren't where they want them to be. They've coached the situation every week hoping to see better results in those areas and the results just aren't coming.

"I was thinking since I walked out of here, I had a couple extra minutes that I normally don't have," Carroll said of his early press conference exit. "I go all the way back to the Jets, my one season at the Jets, the last time we were in a situation like this as a head coach. We were never this far behind in New England, and we had -- I think we lost five games in a row with the Jets at the end of the season, and I can't remember anything about what happened in any of those press conferences. ... so if I leave early or if I make a mistake, I'm not on my best game right here, so -- I mean, it's been 20 years since I remember anything past that, and I'm not making any excuse, and I don't want to get good at this. That's the other thing. I don't want to get good at this."

As Carroll said on Friday, he doesn't like learning the hard way. He wants the other team to learn the hard way. But right now, the hard road is facing the Seahawks just about every week and Carroll and the Seahawks can't find the way to exit the freeway.

Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is hit by Zach Allen #94 of the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

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