Kyusung Gong/Associated Press
Russell Wilson’s name has faded from the forefront of the NFL Most Valuable Player discussion in the last two weeks.
After throwing for three or more scores in six of his first seven games, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback produced two touchdown passes in the losses to the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams.
With the running back corps dealing with injuries and the offensive line getting torn apart, Wilson has had fewer opportunities to sit back in the pocket and pick out DK Metcalf and other wide receivers.
The 31-year-old and his Seahawks teammates do not have much time to work on the offensive issues before Week 11 starts with their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night.
The quick fixes made for the NFC West showdown at home could pay off in the coming weeks with three NFC East teams and the New York Jets upcoming on the schedule.
Ways Seahawks Can Get Russell Wilson Back to MVP Form
Better Offensive Line Performance
Wilson can’t go through his reads on passing plays if he does not have time to go through them.
In the last two weeks, he was sacked on 11 occasions, which was his highest two-game total of the season. Before Week 9, he had not been taken down five times in a game since Week 16 of 2019 against the Cardinals.
The six-sack concession to the Rams was caused by three players: Leonard Floyd made three sacks, Terrell Lewis had two and Michael Brockers produced one.
Luckily, the Seahawks do not have to face a defensive line with Aaron Donald again until Week 16, which should ease the pressure on blocking for their quarterback.
In Week 7’s loss to Arizona, Wilson was only sacked twice, but he also made mistakes of his own with three interceptions.
If he cleans up his game while receiving more time to throw, he could unleash a terrific performance in prime time that inches him back into the MVP conversation alongside Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and others.
Ease Pressure off Wilson with a Consistent Rushing Attack
Some of Wilson’s struggles can be directly linked to injuries to running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde.
After Carson went down in the last game against Arizona, the Seahawks struggled to get over the 100-yard mark on the ground.
On Sunday, Wilson accounted for 60 of the team’s 113 rushing yards. Alex Collins, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer combined for 51 yards on the ground and 46 yards in the passing game.
Brady Henderson of ESPN.com noted on Tuesday that Hyde was a full participant in practice and Carson had a limited role. If Wilson gets just one of them back for Thursday night, he would face less pressure if they can pick up good chunks of yardage.
In Seattle’s six wins, it averaged 113 rushing yards. In the last two games, it managed 170 rushing yards, with only 57 coming against Buffalo two weeks ago.
If the Seahawks boast more of a two-dimensional offense moving forward, the threat of the running backs could force defenses to keep an extra defender in the box, which could open up one or two more passing lanes for the quarterback.
The focus on Carson and Hyde in the trenches may also allow Wilson to break out for long gains on the outside if he keeps the ball on certain reads.
If the Seahawks improve on the ground on Thursday, that could carry into the four-game stretch against Philadelphia, Washington and the two New York teams that may help them gain confidence ahead of a closing stretch versus the Rams and 49ers.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference
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