What has happened to the Seahawks?
The franchise’s perennial excellence has been on pause through 10 games this season. The Seahawks enter Monday night’s game at Washington with a stunning 3-7 record and are reeling, having lost five of their past six games.
Dating back to 2012, Seattle has had nine consecutive winning seasons, making the playoffs in eight of those while winning one Super Bowl and losing another.
Sitting in last place in the NFC West is foreign territory for the Seahawks, who are a loss away from virtually eliminating themselves from the playoff race.
The last time Seattle failed to make the playoffs was in 2017, when they went 9-7. The last time the Seahawks were 3-7 was 2009, the year before Pete Carroll became head coach and turned the franchise into one of the model winning franchises in the NFL.
Of late, Carroll, who’s always romped the sidelines with the youthful exuberance of a golden retriever running around at a park, has at times looked a lot more like the oldest head coach in the league, which he is at 70.
After last Sunday’s 23-13 home loss to a Cardinals team that was without starting quarterback Kyler Murray (replaced by journeyman Colt McCoy), an exasperated Carroll abruptly walked out of his postgame press conference only to return about 20 minutes later and apologize to reporters.
“I’m just not any good at this,” Carroll said of dealing with losing after returning to the interview room. “I’m not prepared for this. It’s new territory.’’
The day after the game, Carroll conducted a team meeting to invite some of his veteran players — such as linebacker Bobby Wagner, quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive lineman Duane Brown — to speak up and air their feelings.
“We’ve got a challenge that we’re facing that we’ve got to turn,’’ Carroll said. “We want to turn this thing as fast as we can. And we don’t have a moment to waste.’’
Much of the Seahawks’ slide can be attributed to Wilson being out of the lineup for a month with a finger injury. But he has been back the past two games, one of which was a shutout loss against the Packers (the first time in a decade Seattle has been shut out) and the second was last Sunday at home, where Seattle scored only one touchdown.
Those two losses marked just the third time in Wilson’s 10-year career that he’s gone two consecutive games without throwing a TD pass.
The offense is converting just 32.4 percent of its third-down conversions and the Seahawks are averaging just 55 offensive plays per game, which is tied into their poor production on third downs.
That, too, is wearing down their defense, which has been on the field an average of almost 73 plays per game. Maybe it’s related, maybe it’s coincidence, but the Seahawks have been outscored 78-50 in the fourth quarter this season.
Maybe it’s too early to declare this the end of an era in Seattle. But maybe it’s not, with general manager John Schneider seemingly lost his touch unearthing terrific talent in the draft.
The Seahawks don’t even have a 2022 first-round draft pick, because it was dealt to the Jets for safety Jamal Adams — who hasn’t been the difference-making player Seattle hoped he’d be when the team made that all-in, win-now trade.
“We’ve got to be better,’’ Wilson told reporters. “The truth, too, is we are better than what we’ve been playing. And the truth is that we also believe in that we can be better as a collective group. And the truth is, we got seven games to go.’’
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