But he didn’t blame his uncharacteristically poor performance on his surgically repaired finger, as much as his lousy numbers and some of his errant throws might suggest it was an issue in his first game in five weeks.
Whether Wilson was indeed feeling some lingering effects from his Oct. 8 finger surgery or the monthlong layoff that resulted, this was not how he or the Seahawks envisioned his return going: 20-of-40 passing for 161 yards, two interceptions and a 12.9 Total QBR. That plus a lack of running game and a squandered scoring opportunity late in the first half resulted in the Seahawks’ first shutout loss since 2011, the year before they drafted Wilson. And it dropped them to 3-6 with a home game against the 8-2 Arizona Cardinals up next.
“He doesn’t feel like it was at all,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked how much Wilson’s finger may have impacted his play. “There was a couple high throws that got out. Pretty cold night and all that. Maybe that had something to do with it as you’re looking at it. I don’t think so. I’m not thinking that and Russ isn’t either.”
Wilson repeatedly said he felt confident in his finger and pointed to his two interceptions as the difference Sunday.
The first was on a third-and-10 throw into the end zone in the third quarter of a 3-0 game. Wilson said he saw cornerback Kevin King‘s back turned to him and thought he could zip the ball into the end zone to DK Metcalf, but King turned around just in time. On his second pick, a deep heave to the double-covered Tyler Lockett, Wilson said he was trying to take a shot with Seattle down 10-0 in the fourth quarter.
“You never want to second-guess yourself on those plays because you make so many of them,” Wilson said, noting that Seattle has scored plenty of touchdowns on similar plays. “But in that kind of game where it was back and forth, back and forth, that’s where I can eliminate that mistake and allow us to kick the field goal and make it 3-3 and here we go. Now it’s 3-3, a 0-0 game basically and keep playing. Like I said, 100% accountability on myself that that happened. Nobody else’s fault.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Wilson finished the game with 10 off-target incompletions, including eight overthrows. Both were his most since 2019. He averaged only 3.3 air yards on his completions, the fourth lowest of his career and his lowest since 2018. He went 2-of-15 with both of his interceptions on passes thrown 10-plus yards downfield, tied for his most incompletions (13) and his second-worst completion rate (13%) on those throws in his career. Wilson averaged 19.0 air yards on his incompletions Sunday.
Wilson’s 12.9 Total QBR was the sixth lowest of his career.
“I threw one high to Tyler there,” he said. “Maybe I just tried to throw it a little too hard … But other than that, I felt confident in every throw, confident in the game. The reality was the game was 3-nothing all the way until the fourth quarter or whatever. We should have won that game. Our defense played great. Guys battled throughout the whole game between two really good teams. I’ve got to play better. That was on me, those two plays. That was really the game.”
Wilson was playing for the first time since he suffered multiple injuries to his right middle finger on Oct. 7. He had surgery the next day, which included the insertion of a pin that was removed on Nov. 1. Wilson returned to practice a week later, which marked exactly one month after his surgery. He said last week he was initially told he’d likely be out six to eight weeks.
“He had a couple bad plays,” Carroll said. “I know you’re wondering was he ready and all that kind of stuff. He was ready to play. There was nothing else, there was no other information leading to this [that] could tell us any different. He was pumped and got after it and all that and he did nice job today. They’re a good defense and we couldn’t get enough going on to make the points we needed. They couldn’t, either, until they did. It’s a big opportunity that we missed out on. It’s disappointing. This was a real shot and we could feel it and we knew it, and fortunately we couldn’t get the right plays made at the right time to get it done.”
The Seahawks ran exclusively out of shotgun or pistol formations Sunday not to expose Wilson’s finger to the repeated contact of an under-center snap. Carroll said Wilson took snaps under center last week and pregame and that he could have done the same against Green Bay.
“It’s just a little bit different,” Carroll said when asked if that formation hindered Seattle’s offense. “We ran pistol, which is the same thing, putting a guy behind him. So the gun plays were exactly the same. There’s a lot of teams that run pistol all the time. The Ravens do all the time. It’s been part of our offense for a long time when we wanted to choose to do it, and we thought this was the right thing to do. You can question me on that if you want to, but that’s the way we decided to do it.”
Wilson hadn’t been shut out in any of his first 149 regular-season starts before Sunday. According to Elias Sports Bureau data, that’s the seventh most by any quarterback in the past 30 seasons prior to being shut out for the first time. The loss was his fifth in as many career starts at Lambeau Field, including playoffs.
“There’s a lot of joy that I have tonight even though it’s going to be hard to go home on this flight because I know I’m back,” Wilson said. “It didn’t feel great losing the game in that fashion on those two plays, but I do know I’ll be better. I’ll be better. I always believe in myself. My confidence never wavers, so it ain’t going to waver now.”