By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
ST. LOUIS — At the quarter pole of the 2012 season, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has to decide if it’s time to pull the plug on his starting quarterback.
While rookie Russell Wilson at times has shown an ability to create spectacular plays, particularly at the end of games, the bottom line is the University of Wisconsin product is not consistently getting Seattle’s offense in the end zone.
Wilson finished 17-of-25 for 160 yards and three interceptions in a troubling loss against St. Louis on Sunday.
For the first time this season, Wilson did not throw a touchdown pass in a game, was sacked twice and finished with a 45.8 passer rating.
But more important, Wilson managed to get his team in the end zone just one time in 10 possessions against St. Louis.
For the season, Wilson is 60-of-100 (60 percent) for 594 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions, with a 73.5 passer rating.
Carroll wants to review the film before discussing his team’s productivity at the quarterback position, saying Wilson isn’t the only one on offense struggling.
However, the Seahawks have five-year veteran Matt Flynn ready to go. Flynn signed a three-year, $19 million deal as the team’s top free agent. Flynn, who will make $8 million in total compensation this season, was Seattle’s projected starting quarterback heading into this season.
“I think he’s moving the club,” Carroll said about Wilson. “He shows that he can move us, and he made some great plays today. He ran around really well, and he was accurate with the football for the most part.
“I’m still thinking that he’s improving and getting more comfortable and all of that. … So we’ll see what it all means. I don’t know yet.”
The Seahawks remain last in the league in passing, averaging just 130.8 yards a contest. And some frustration from the receiver group is starting to bubble to the surface.
“I think he did all he could,” Rice said about Wilson. “We still need work — everybody — the whole offense. Right now it’s not looking too good. We’re way better than what we’re showing out on the field.
“The way we practice every week, going in and giving 110 percent effort starting Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — we’ve got to make that carry over to the field. This is getting kind of depressing now. This sucks.”
For the season, Wilson has led Seattle to scores on 13 of the team’s 41 drives (32 percent) through four games, including six touchdowns and seven field goals.
Those numbers pale in comparison to his numbers in preseason play, when he put points on the board on 12-of-19 (63.2 percent) drives through three exhibition games, including eight touchdowns.
Carroll pointed to Wilson’s play in the preseason as one of the reasons he earned the starting job of Flynn.
Wilson understands he needs to play better.
“We had opportunities,” Wilson said. “We don’t ever want to turn the ball over. Personally, I had three turnovers, so that’s never good. You just want to look at the film (and) see what we can do better, see what I can do better and just learn from it and move on.”
A microcosm of Seattle’s season so far offensively has been the team’s struggles in the red zone. So far this year Seattle is 3-of-11 in the red zone, scoring just three touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line.
“We’ve just got to get better on the smaller things,” Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung said. “We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We can’t turn the ball over. If you do things like that, you’re not going to win.”