SEATTLE – No Russell Wilson, no endgame magic.
That was the story of the Seattle Seahawks when backup quarterback Geno Smith took over late against the Los Angeles Rams after Wilson injured his finger and again in Smith’s two starts since last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Monday night against the New Orleans Saints. .
Three consecutive losses have served as a misguided reminder that for the past 10 seasons, arguably no quarterback has been as good as Wilson with the game at stake.
“He’s a special guy,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner, who entered the NFL with Wilson in 2012 after Seattle’s 13-10 loss to New Orleans. “Whenever we return the ball to him with some time on the clock, you know something is going to happen. For me, I don’t need to be reminded. I know what he’s capable of, but I also know that Geno is capable of executing and I have faith in him. “
But so far, Smith and the offense have not executed at the end.
In all three games, the Seahawks had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final three minutes of regulation or overtime.
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After taking over with 2:09 remaining in a 23-17 game against the Rams, Smith was intercepted on his first play when his intended target, Tyler Lockett, fell. Los Angeles put him up with a field goal three plays later.
The Seahawks needed any kind of touchdown to win in sudden death when they recovered the ball midway through overtime against the Steelers, only to flip it deep in their turf when Smith fumbled while struggling on the first play. That set up Pittsburgh for a chip-shot field goal to win it.
They lost by three points Monday night when they took over with 1:56 left. Smith went 0 for 2 and was sacked twice, allowing New Orleans to take over casualties and bring the clock to its knees.
“Those are crucial moments and we had opportunities to really freeze the game,” Smith said. “So we have to put that into our mentality like, ‘Hey man, we have to be closers and finishers.’ And that’s something we can really work on.”
Monday night’s loss left the Seahawks 2-5, marking the first time since 2011 that they have been three games under .500. That was Carroll’s second season in Seattle and the season before Wilson was drafted. He was asked how much of his recent completion issues are a function of not having Wilson.
“I’ve been here a long time,” he said. “And if we didn’t have Russell, he probably wouldn’t have been here long. Because think about all the magic he’s created over the years. He’s got numbers and stats, and this is and that of the fourth quarter, and all of that. . One of the winningest quarterbacks in NFL history. And it will be a lot of fun when he comes back and plays football again for us this year. And we owe a huge amount. You can see how difficult it is. I mean, all these games – the Rams game … the Steelers, and this one.
“Russell is a factor. He is a fantastic positive factor and he always has been. That is his moment. That’s when he shines. We miss him. In the meantime, we are going to keep fighting, scratching and doing everything we can.”
Including the postseason, Wilson has led 35 winning series in the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s more than any NFL quarterback since he entered the league in 2012.
And since Wilson didn’t do any of that on his own, Smith has hardly been the sole reason for the Seahawks’ latest shortcomings.
He threw a touchdown pass that capped a 98-yard touchdown drive against the Rams and brought Seattle to life in the fourth quarter before his unlucky interception.
Against the Saints, the Seahawks would have gotten the ball back on their offense with six minutes to go in a tying game if Marquise Blair hadn’t been charged with mistreatment on a third-down sack. Then Al Woods jumped offside on what was about to be a 41-yard field goal try. That gave the Saints another series of downs and brought them eight more yards on their game-winning kick.
Carroll has said he will stay with Smith for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Wilson will then be eligible to come off injured reserve, meaning he could return to face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in week 10 after the Seattle break, provided his surgically repaired finger is ready to go. then.
“I would love for Russ to just finish these last three games,” Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle on its weekly radio show Tuesday. “Give it to me in the last quarter and let him see what he can do. That’s the magic we’ve seen and that’s what this program and our fans, including myself, have told about. We have all counted on that to happen.” . So now we have to help Geno seize that opportunity and move forward and then we start building from there, and this is a great week to do that. “