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Seahawks Season Officially Goes Up In Flames With Ugly 17-15 Loss to Washington

Inside two minutes to play, Seattle made a valiant last-minute effort trying to save its season in prime time. But as has been the case all year, Russell Wilson and company came up short, leading to another gut-wrenching loss putting them on the precipice of playoff elimination.

For weeks, the Seahawks have remained on the outskirts of the playoff hunt thanks to help from a plethora of mediocre teams in the NFC. The door to contention stayed open, even if the team didn't deserve to be a part of such discussions at all.

After yet another embarrassing performance in prime time on Monday Night Football, thankfully, such chatter can finally cease. Unable to finish off a last-minute comeback effort in a near-unwatchable 17-15 loss to Washington, Seattle dropped to 3-8 for the first time since 1977, all but ending its already very slim playoff hopes and mercilessly slamming the door for a potential turnaround shut.

"A really frustrating trip for us to come all the way out and hang in the game. We didn't play very well, complimentary at all," a defeated coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. "To have a chance there right at the end, I'm really proud of how these guys keep battling and fighting hard... But the results just aren't coming. We can't get these games won."

For a half, the Seahawks looked to have a sliver of hope at FedEx Field. After scoring 13 offensive points in the previous two games in defeats to the Packers and Cardinals, Russell Wilson found his groove completing eight out of 11 passes for 145 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Gerald Everett, giving his team a 7-3 advantage. On that scoring drive, they found a way to convert on both of their third downs, including a 55-yard bomb to receiver Tyler Lockett.

Then, with Washington slowly driving down the field into Seattle territory midway through the second quarter, safety Quandre Diggs leveled tight end Logan Thomas running a route down the seam. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke's pass was tipped up in the air by linebacker Bobby Wagner, allowing safety Jamal Adams to run under it for his second interception in three weeks and setting up his team with a chance to extend their lead before halftime.

But the tide of the game seemed to change on one single play moments later. After Wilson hooked up with Lockett for a 39-yard completion, he found running back Alex Collins on a check down and the veteran picked up the first down, only to have the ball punched out of his hand by safety Landon Collins.

With receiver Freddie Swain unable to corral the fumble after initially pouncing on it, Washington recovered deep in its own territory and capitalized on the killer turnover. Aided by penalties, including a questionable roughing the passer call on defensive end Rasheem Green, they responded with a long touchdown drive of their own capped off with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke to JD McKissic.

Even with Green blocking and returning the ensuing extra point by Joey Slye for two points to knot the game up at 9 apiece late in the second quarter, Seattle couldn't regain momentum until it proved to be too little, too late. With the clock ticking down inside 30 seconds left to play in regulation, Wilson's 32-yard touchdown to Swain gave the Seahawks a chance to tie the game, only for the two-point conversion throw intended for Swain to be intercepted by cornerback Kendall Fuller.

Summing up another frustrating day at the office, cornerback Gavin Heslop recovered an onside kick on the very next play, only for it to be negated by an illegal formation penalty called against the Seahawks for not having enough players outside of the hash mark.

It was the same story on a different day with chronic issues that have derailed Seattle's season on both sides of the ball rearing their ugly heads, leaving players and coaches once again unable to provide answers for the prolonged struggles.

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Offensively, the Seahawks converted only four of their 12 third down opportunities for the game and went three-and-out on five consecutive drives spanning into the fourth quarter. Minus starting left guard Damien Lewis, they couldn't run the ball to save their lives, rushing for just 34 yards on 12 carries and failing to achieve desired offensive balance that has often eluded them this year.

Unable to sustain his stellar play from the first half, Wilson also misfired on several passes he typical completes, including airmailing Everett several times, continuing a dreadful trend of uncharacteristic inaccuracy weeks after returning from finger surgery. After completing eight out of 11 passes for 145 yards before halftime, he went 12 for 20 in the second half for just 102 yards.

"The film doesn't lie, we're missing some stuff," Carroll said of Wilson's struggles. "I don't see any indications of that in practice as we're going, so I gotta look at the film... I don't know what to make of it other than we gotta keep battling and figure it out."

Meanwhile, the Seahawks' defense did their job for the most part, allowing just 17 points for the second time in three games. A broken up pass by Adams on fourth and goal thwarted what would have been a back-breaking touchdown catch by Logan Thomas and gave Wilson a chance to tie the game. But there were certainly missed opportunities they wish they could have had back.

They couldn't finish on sack opportunities on Heinicke, who slithered away from defenders all night as if his jersey was coated in motor oil. Antonio Gibson surpassed 100 rushing yards, while McKissic added 30 yards and a pair of touchdowns, continuing a season-long struggle defending running backs. Adding in untimely penalties such as Green's roughing the passer infraction to the equation, they surrendered 27 total first downs, which combined with prolonged offensive ineptitude led to an unthinkable 41 to 18 time of possession differential.

Those are marks of a bad football team and as they continue to find new, sometimes creative ways to lose tight games, there's no denying the Seahawks are indeed a bad football team. As a result, there likely won't be any meaningful games coming up in December for the first time since 2009, when coach Jim Mora still roamed the sidelines.

This is truly uncharted territory for Carroll, Wilson, and everyone else within the organization used to contending year in and year out. As expected, Wilson remained positive after the loss, staying steadfast in his belief the Seahawks have the talent to still make something out of a disastrous season thus far.

"The past is already the past, so the best thing you can do is learn as much as you can, but also know we have what it takes to be better," Wilson reflected. "We have what it takes to be great in my opinion. It's challenging, it's challenging right now."

But while Wilson and Seattle will continue to fight with six games left to play and the team isn't mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, the focus must start shifting away from a lost season and towards 2022 at some point. The problem? Making matters far worse, the organization doesn't have a first round pick thanks to last year's trade for Adams and right now, that pick belonging to the New York Jets would be in the top five.

Following a decade of dominance featuring eight playoff appearances, the day of reckoning appears to have arrived, even if players and coaches refuse to admit or accept it. Closing in on rock bottom with little left to play for, unless an improbable 6-0 finish comes to fruition, the reality is that rumblings about the immediate futures of Wilson, Carroll, and other notable Seahawks will only grow louder as the offseason approaches.