Russell Wilson is resolute. He is loyal.
He believes in what many of you do not: The Seahawks’ offensive linemen.
"I have no doubt in what they can do,” Seattle’s $87.6 million franchise quarterback said of the maligned O-line that is the league’s lowest-paid. “I have all the confidence in the world in those guys.”
You may wonder if the six sacks, 14 official hits and about a half dozen more bangs he got last weekend from the Arizona Cardinals in the Seahawks’ damaging home loss has left Wilson loopy.
But consider this: What else is he going to say right now?
Seattle’s line with three first-year starters in center Justin Britt and rookies Germain Ifedi at right guard and undrafted George Fant at left tackle has proven -- albeit sporadically -- that it can succeed against playoff defenses. The Seahawks’ allowed just one sack in 38 drop backs by Wilson in the Oct. 16 win over NFC South-champion Atlanta. In mid-November they rolled to 420 yards and averaged almost 6 1/2 yards per snap against what is about to be the defense that will end Seattle’s four-year run leading the NFL in fewest points allowed. That led the Seahawks to a signature victory at New England.
But the Seahawks’ line also allowed Wilson to get a high-ankle sprain and sprained knee in a two-week span in September, injuries that changed the first 2 1/2 months of Seattle’s season.
The O-line allowed Green Bay to sack Wilson three times and hit him nine more times while scoring just 10 points in a blowout loss this month. That was after allowing Tampa Bay to sack Wilson six times and hit him on a dozen more drop backs while scoring just a field goal in the 14-5 loss to the Buccaneers Nov. 27. Buffalo, another team headed home instead of the playoffs after Sunday’s final regular-season games, sacked Wilson four times and hit him on seven more pass attempts -- the week before the standout performance against the Patriots.
The Seahawks rolled up 40 points in routing Carolina -- in the week between getting ransacked at Tampa Bay then at Green Bay.
Nine days after mostly manhandling meek Los Angeles, the Seahawks’ line imploded against the Cardinals.
Imploded like this:
And on and on it’s gone.
“I think the thing for us, we just have to be consistent,” Wilson said, “and that’s across the board. We have to continue to find ways...
“It’s just a little bit more focus here and there, I think that’s really the only thing that we need to do. ... We got a lot of young guys, which is a good thing. I think we have a lot of young guys that are new to the team and different faces, and every year that is going to be a new journey. You have to take that journey within itself, you can’t really look back as much.
“In terms of finding the tenacity in every game, I think it’s just within. I think it’s communication, execution. I think it’s continuing to be engaged and continuing to find the importance in every single play, every single detail. The more we can tap into that, the better chance we have to be successful. I think that’s really the key.
“I don’t think we’re far off, at all.”
The time to get there is now over.
The regular season ends on Sunday at San Francisco (2-13). The Seahawks will find out that day -- depending on New Orleans’ game at Atlanta, the New York Giants playing at Washington and Green Bay playing at Detroit Sunday night -- whether they will play next week in the wild-card round of the playoffs or get a first-round bye.
Here’s a look at the possible outcomes from this weekend’s games:
For Seattle, it appears the best-case scenario -- outside of the Saints upsetting the Falcons in Atlanta to give the Seahawks the No. 2 seed and bye -- is for a win at San Francisco of course plus Washington to beat the Giants. That would keep the Seahawks from having to play the Packers in the first, or if Green Bay beats Detroit, even the second round.
Unless, that is, Wilson and his offensive line want an immediate do-over against the Packers to whom they just lost 38-10 this month. The last the Seahawks’ largest margin of defeat in six years.
“For us, we have to understand and know the importance of every moment,” Wilson said before Thursday’s indoor practice. “Once we really capture that and continue to capture that -- I think we’ve done that before -- I don’t think it’s something we’ve never done this year. I think the more we can capture that from one play to the next, the better we will be.”