Rost’s Seahawks Takeaways: It’s mental mistakes, not injury, for QB Russell Wilson

Nov 17, 2020, 9:59 AM

Seahawks Russell Wilson...

Russell Wilson committed seven turnovers in the Seahawks' back-to-back losses. (Getty)


The Seahawks have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals on tap. Before they face off against another NFC West foe, here’s a quick look back at the takeaways from Sunday’s 23-16 loss to the Rams:

We’re probably seeing mental mistakes – not injury – from Russell Wilson

We’ve seen Russell Wilson make mistakes under pressure and we’ve seen him throw interceptions, but rarely has he done so consistently over multiple weeks. Wilson’s second game with three or more turnovers was so surprising that it had some fans questioning whether Wilson was injured.

I understand why fans would ask. It’s worth noting my Jake and Stacy co-host Jake Heaps said during Monday’s show he doesn’t believe Wilson is injured, but Wilson hasn’t shied away from playing hurt in the past. He’s never missed a start in his career, and he battled through a sprained ankle and MCL in 2016 (he was so intent on playing that he had a rehab specialist move into his home to help him work through the injury). And while Seattle’s pass protection has improved this season, Wilson is still taking some hard hits.

But rather than injury, it seems more likely Wilson is making mental mistakes in an effort to do too much. Wilson has been open about working with a mental conditioning coach to stay neutral on the field, but if he is feeling pressure to make things happen, it’s understandable. This defense has been historically bad against the pass, and the offense is playing without its top two running backs. Whatever the situation of the team around him, Pete Carroll made it clear the expectation is that Wilson focus on protecting the ball.

“There is a point in there where you can feel like, ‘If I don’t do something here, maybe it won’t happen,’” Carroll said during his weekly show Monday with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “And that’s when over-trying does take place, and you don’t see the situation the way you normally would see it.”

Chris Carson proves two things in his absence

The Seahawks’ top running back hasn’t played since suffering a mid-foot sprain in Seattle’s Week 7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He’s proven two things with his absence: the first is that the concern for injuries is legit, and the second is that he’s the best running back to wear a Seahawks uniform since Marshawn Lynch.

No other halfback has been able to produce the way Carson has for this offense, and even with Wilson firing on all cylinders, the Seahawks are a less dynamic offense without him.

Huard: Seahawks’ need for Chris Carson can no longer be understated

During his Monday afternoon press conference, Carroll didn’t provide a ton of clarification when asked whether Carson would play Thursday. He was a little more sure about backup running back Carlos Hyde’s status coming back from a hamstring strain, though.

“I’m told Carlos (Hyde) is going to go today,” Carroll said. “Chris is working to get back, he’s trying to make it. Carlos is a little bit ahead of him now, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Snacks Harrison is still ramping up

Fans were desperate for help – something – on defense, but expecting that help to come in the form of Snacks Harrison in his first game out was probably a stretch. The veteran defensive tackle played just 19 snaps.

Special teams remains a silver lining

For the most part, Seattle’s special teams play has been stellar this season.

They bounced back from a gaffe on their opening kickoff coverage last week. Punter Michael Dickson has been the star in that phase of the game, but kicker Jason Myers made his case Sunday with a franchise-record 61-yard field goal. Myers is a perfect 10 for 10 after hitting a season-high three field goals against the Rams, and he’s missed only one of his 35 extra point attempts.

It’s all impressive when you consider special teams coordinator Brian Schneider had to leave the team for personal reasons just days before the season opener.

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