RENTON, Wash. — Russell Wilson referenced a Vince Lombardi quote Tuesday when asked about his message to his Seattle Seahawks teammates in the aftermath of their third loss in four games, a stretch that has coincided with the worst turnover funk of the quarterback’s career.
“You may slip and fall a little bit,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to just keep climbing. I think Vince Lombardi said something about that one time. I think he talked about the man who’s on top of the mountain didn’t just get there. It’s so true I think that as a team, there’s always challenges … The guys that can keep getting up and keep swinging, those are the players and those are the teams that keep overcoming. What I do know about myself is I’m an overcomer. I’ve been doubted before. One thing about me is I’m going to keep swinging.”
Wilson threw two interceptions Sunday in the Seahawks’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He also lost a fumble after a bad snap. That brought his turnover total since Week 7 to 10, his most in any four-game stretch since he entered the league as a third-round pick in 2012. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Wilson’s 13 turnovers are his most through the first 10 games of any season in his career.
The Seahawks have gone from 5-0 and first place atop the NFC West to 6-3 and in a three-way tie with the Rams and Arizona Cardinals, who each have a win over Seattle during that stretch. The Seahawks host Arizona on Thursday night in the rematch at CenturyLink Field, a game they need to win to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2011.
Wilson, meanwhile, has lost his early-season grip on the MVP race.
“He needs to play better,” Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “He knows that. We can’t turn the ball over.”
Schottenheimer has taken the blame for some of Wilson’s recent mistakes. One was the first of his two interceptions in Week 9 against Buffalo, saying it was a bad play call and that Wilson had to throw the ball somewhere on fourth down. He chalked up Wilson’s second interception against the Rams to a nice play by cornerback Darious Williams.
But Schottenheimer described Wilson’s other interception against the Rams as the result of bad decision to force the ball into the end zone when he had room to run.
Wilson’s 10 interceptions are one shy of his career high.
“The turnovers, he knows he has to be better with that,” Schottenheimer said. “He knows that. We coach him no different than everybody else. It’s non-negotiable. You have to take care of the football. There’s big momentum swings. We always want to be one of the top teams in the league at taking care of the football. He’s always going to be a guy that’s been that way. He’s normally a single-digit interception guy. He understands that.”
Wilson and coach Pete Carroll have been asked multiple times in recent weeks whether the quarterback is pressing given the way Seattle’s defense has been struggling at a historic rate. His recent funk has also coincided with the absence of running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde. Wilson has been sacked 11 times over the past two games while taking 23 additional QB hits.
Asked Tuesday if he’s healthy, he said he feels great.
“I think that I’ve just got to make clearer decisions,” he said. “I don’t want to overcomplicate it.”
Schottenheimer said he talked to Wilson about simplifying his thinking on the field.
“We completely trust Russ,” he said. “Russ will get through this. I really believe that.”
So does Wilson.
“I think he’s been saying it all week — it’s not going to last,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “There’s times where you have stretches where you’re not playing as well as you want to or you’re not making the plays that you were making, but his confidence is unshakable. Nobody can shake his confidence and that’s something that you admire and appreciate as a teammate because everybody handles adversity. He always handles it head-on, so you respect it, you appreciate it and it’s inspiring, for sure.”