By Jack Bantock, CNN
It was an unhappy birthday for Russell Wilson on Monday Night Football as the quarterback saw his potential game-tying pass intercepted to seal a 17-15 loss for the Seattle Seahawks (3-8) against the Washington Football Team (5-6), scuppering a dramatic comeback.
Playing on his 33rd birthday, Wilson threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Swain with just 15 seconds to play to put the Seahawks within two points of tying the game, but his subsequent two-point conversion pass was intercepted by Kendall Fuller to snatch the win for Washington.
Having trailed 17-9 until the closing seconds, a thrilling comeback could have served as a much-needed spark for a downtrodden Wilson and the Seahawks. Since the eight-time Pro Bowl star returned from finger surgery — the team has scored just 28 total points en route to three straight defeats that have left their playoff hopes in tatters.
It is a damning indictment of Wilson’s current struggles that the Seahawks scored more points in the last game before his reinstatement — Geno Smith throwing for a pair of touchdowns and rushing for one in an impressive 31-7 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars — than in the three losses since.
Wilson went 20 from 31 for 247 yards and threw his first two touchdowns since returning, but it was not enough to stop him from suffering a third straight loss as the starter for the first time since he joined the Seahawks in 2012.
‘It’s challenging right now’
A Super-Bowl champion in his second season and the franchise’s all-time passing leader, Wilson has enjoyed countless triumphant nights in Seattle, but now finds himself needing to navigate an unfamiliar slump.
“It’s challenging right now, but at the same time, I know what we’re capable of,” Wilson told reporters after the game.
“What we’re capable of has to show up. We have to make that happen. I don’t know any other way. I’m not one of those guys to be down and out and not believe and give up… give up and give in.
“I’m gonna keep working my butt off every day — this team is too. That’s what we’re gonna make sure of.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll must now rally a team rooted to the bottom of the NFC West ahead of Sunday’s hosting of the San Francisco 49ers (6-5) that could see any remaining dreams of a playoff place extinguished.
“The results and the way we’re playing, it isn’t showing up. He’s got to do better, we all got to do better,” Carroll said of Wilson.
“Film doesn’t lie. We’re missing some stuff. I don’t see indications of that in practice. I don’t know what to make of it other than the fact that we gotta keep battling, keep trying to figure it out.
“I thought we had some guys open tonight, with some chances, and unfortunately, we didn’t hook it up,” Carroll concluded.
Meanwhile, a third successive victory for Washington has breathed new life into their season, moving them into the final NFC wild-card spot.
A bad run of four straight losses through October looked to have derailed any shot at the playoffs, but yesterday’s triumph followed up wins over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers this month to decisively put coach Ron Rivera’s team back on track.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke went 27 from 35 for 223 yards and threw for one touchdown — a second quarter pass to running back J.D. McKissic — as well as an interception. McKissic ran for Washington’s second touchdown in the third quarter before exiting in the fourth via injury, with Antonio Gibson’s two-point run conversion ultimately proving decisive in surviving the late Seahawks rally.
“It meant a lot just because of the way these guys fight,” said Rivera.
“In spite of everything that’s gone on during the game with the injuries, we were able to come out on top, so good for these guys.”
Washington face the Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) on Sunday as they look to carry their form into December.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.