Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t been at his best lately, no one is denying that. But while Wilson is coming off one of the worst two-game stretches of his career, he remains confident things will turn around soon, hopefully in Kansas City against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL this season.
“Well I think my accuracy has been a little bit off for whatever reason, but I just keep believing in myself,” said Wilson, who has posted a passer rating below 80 in four of his last five starts, and who had just the fourth multi-interception game of his career last week. “I’m not going to doubt myself, I’ve played a lot of great football and I just believe every time I get the ball in my hands, I’m going to make something happen. That’s never going to change; my confidence never wavers. Sometimes you go through a downward slump, but as long as you can find ways to win, that’s all I care about—finding ways to help our football team win.
The way Wilson sees it, the fact that Seattle has won three in a row despite two poor performances bodes well for the Seahawks moving forward. If the defense and running game can carry them now, the Seahawks should be in good shape when the passing game gets back on track.
“Once I get back in my groove, which hopefully will happen this week, I think it’s going to be really hard to stop us because of how our defense is playing and how Marshawn is running the football,” Wilson said. “There’s been a lot of opportunities, that’s the good thing, there’s been a lot of opportunities we could have capitalized on, and we haven’t, I think some of that’s on me, and I look forward to those moments again whenever they come back up. I believe I’m going to make those game-altering plays.”
In the past Wilson has said poor footwork has been the culprit for struggles, and he says that is part of the problem now, but not all of it.
“I think some of the times it’s been footwork, and sometimes maybe just rushing a little too fast,” he said. “One of my strengths is just being poised in certain times, and I think I have to always go back to that, always being calm as possible and just being smooth as possible and making those throws, hitting it when it’s there.”
Wilson has been running more of late, most notably rushing for 107 yards last week, and some have wondered if all of that running is affecting his throwing, but he doesn’t think that’s the issue: “I don’t think so. I don’t think about it, at least. I don’t think it makes a difference… obviously I’ve had to run the ball a few more times than normal. In terms of, does it affect the passing game? I don’t think so. I do think your adrenaline is going a little bit more, so you have to naturally—and I’ve done this ever since I was a young kid; I’ve been able to scramble and do all that, so I think I’m used to it—but one thing you have to kind of figure out and make sure you know is to just stay calm and stay poised, and I think that’s part of it since your adrenaline is so high from running around from all those big guys. Every play is a new play for me, and that’s what I’m looking forward to this week.”
For those looking for a silver lining, consider that Wilson has seen his numbers improve in November and December over his first two seasons. Obviously we’re into November and so far that trend hasn’t repeated itself, but he’s confident better times are ahead.
“My goal is to take off, that’s the goal—you just want to keep getting better every week,” he said. “I feel like I’ve found ways to win these past couple of weeks. You’ve got to remember we’ve had a lot of guys out and all of that, but you still want to keep playing great football all the time. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but the key is finding your way back into that groove and staying in that groove, and that’s what I believe is going to happen. We’re playing a very good defense, so we’ve got to play our best football, I have to play my best football, but I look forward to those challenges.
“We want to be very balanced. I believe that we’re going to click and we’re going to make plays. Whatever it takes, whatever it takes to win. I don’t care what the situation is, if we have to run for 450 or throw for 450, as long as we score one more point, that’s all that matters to me. “
As for this week’s game, in addition to facing a tough defense that features the league leader in sacks, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, Wilson and the Seahawks could be facing some challenging elements as well, with below-freezing temperatures and a chance of snow.
Wilson, who played his finals season at Wisconsin, says he isn’t worried about the conditions: “In terms of the cold weather, they’ve got so many heaters on the sideline, you’ve got the gloves, you got the little heat pack in your pocket, so it’ll be all right. The question is how the ground will be, how the grass will be, if the ground will be frozen or not depending on how cold it is. That’s the kind of thing you have to prepare for, making sure you have your traction and making sure you have your balance in everything you do.
Asked if cold can affect his grip on the ball, Wilson said, “Not really. I have such big hands… It’s not usually a problem ever.”
For Wilson, this game is also a return to a place that played a big part in his early success. Wilson’s last trip to Kansas City was for Seattle’s third preseason game in 2012, a game that was a big part of his winning the starting job that season.
“I always try to visualize success, and one of the things I thought this morning was, ‘Man, I’m going to Arrowhead. Oh yeah, I’ve played there before,’” Wilson said. “It’s a little different situation, a preseason game, but those are the things you try to remember. You try to remember what the stadium looked like, you try to remember how you got ready, what was the process of it? That was my third preseason game, that was the game I started, and it turned out really good for us. You try to rely on those things, and I also try to rely on the preparation throughout the week more than anything else. I rely on the teammates I have and the coaching staff and just trust that we’re going to find a way.”