Russell Wilson’s ego led to the first shutout loss of his career, and Shane Waldron did not do his part to stop it.
Waldron put the game in the hands of Wilson, who was Russ-ty as he came back from a month off and played in frigid weather in Green Bay. The result: 17-0, the first shutout loss of Wilson’s career.
The Hawks were running the ball well and needed to do it a lot more. Alex Collins was over four yards a pop. Lanes were there.
But Waldron let Wilson throw air balls, wobblers and end zone interceptions instead of mixing in the run to keep it manageable for the still-recovering QB.
Wilson wanted to “beat records” in his recovery, and Waldron let him try to prove he was ready to let it rip, rather than present a balanced attack that kept the pressure off him. Thus, the QB had one of the very worst games of his career: 50% completions, two picks and a 39.7 rating.
Continuing a season-long trend, the Hawks were doubled up in TOP again, 39-21. That set up their otherwise stellar defense for failure in the fourth quarter, when the Packers scored two TDs to finish it off.
Running the ball would have helped alleviate Wilson’s troubles, but there were just 12 called runs vs. 45 passes (Wilson ran five of those). Collins carried it just 10 times, even though he gained 41 yards.
Wilson hardly targeted his star receivers early in the game and then had trouble connecting even when he did eye them. He overthrew Tyler Lockett several times, threw behind DK Metcalf, threw end zone picks when targeting both receivers (late to Metcalf, into double coverage to Lockett).
Metcalf was so frustrated that he got ejected in the final seconds after grabbing facemasks in a fracas. Metcalf said he is “tired of losing” and “we’ve got to get the ball to our playmakers.” No one disagrees.
The only good thing Wilson did was get the ball to the tight ends (10 completions for 85 yards). But that was not nearly enough. And Waldron really failed in this one.
The offense was struggling even before Wilson got hurt (e.g., just seven points in three quarters vs. the Rams), so it figures that it would have even bigger problems in his first game back.
It was up to Waldron to mitigate that, but he was massively remiss in not using the running game more as Wilson struggled to find his wideouts.
The OC needs to avoid playing to the franchise quarterback’s ego and start calling better games. When the run is there, take it. When underneath routes are open, hit them. Quit throwing deep on third downs. Put more movement and misdirection into the game.
It’s no surprise the Hawks lost in Green Bay again – Wilson is now 0-5 there and Seattle is 0-10 since the last win in 1999.
The Hawks are now 3-6 this season, but they are not out of it. The last two NFC wild card spots are up for grabs — the Hawks (and a bunch of others) are right behind New Orleans (5-4) and Carolina (5-5).
It all comes down to whether Waldron can finally put together a balanced attack that will complement a much-improved defense.