GREEN BAY, Wis. — Russell Wilson returned Sunday at Green Bay after missing three games, the first time he’d been sidelined in his NFL career.
But the Seahawks offense was nowhere to be found as Seattle suffered its first shutout in more than 10 years, losing 17-0 to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Wilson made what was by all accounts an exceedingly quick recovery from surgery Oct. 8 to repair a dislocation and rupture in his right middle finger.
And the hope was he’d be able to pick up where he left off — he threw 10 touchdowns in the first five games of the season with a career-best 72% completion percentage.
But Wilson looked rusty throughout, uncommonly off target on a few throws.
Early on he also seemed tentative, appearing to defer to throwing mostly shorter passes.
And by the end, Wilson and the Seahawks offense just seemed desperate, with Wilson twice throwing interceptions in the end zone in the second half.
Wilson has now thrown 84 career interceptions in 150 regular-season games. Eight have come in the four games he’s played at Lambeau Field, all losses.
In fact, the game was Seattle’s seventh straight regular-season loss at Green Bay dating to 1999.
Seattle is now 3-6 and with eight games remaining would have to go 6-2 to avoid the first losing season of Wilson’s career.
That might be tough to do.
But the addition last year of a third wild-card spot and an NFC loaded with mediocrity means playoff chances remain, even if getting more remote by the week.
Seattle’s defense perfected bend-but-don’t-break early on, holding the Packers to just three points through the first three quarters despite allowing 287 yards.
But the defense finally broke in the fourth quarter as the Packers scored two touchdowns in the final 10:42 — runs of 3 and 2 yards by burly running back A.J. Dillon.
It was the first time Seattle had been shut out since a 24-0 loss at Pittsburgh in the second game of the 2011 season.
Wilson finished 20-for-40 for 161 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions and a rating of 39.7, the fourth lowest of his career.
Seattle was still in the game when Wilson threw his first pick in the third quarter.
On third-and-10 at the Packers 12 and the score still 3-0, Wilson scrambled out of pressure and tried to float it to DK Metcalf in the end zone. But he instead threw it directly to former Husky Kevin King. King appeared to bobble the ball as he hit the turf but it was ruled an interception, giving Green Bay the ball at the 20 with 7:45 left in the third quarter.
It looked as if the Seahawks defense might finally be breaking under the weight of having carried the team all game as the Packers drove to the Seattle 15 due mostly to two screen passes to running back Aaron Jones that went for 24 and 23 yards.
But on third-and-6, Aaron Rodgers — himself back after missing one game after testing positive for COVID-19 — was flushed out of the pocket, and then hit by Rasheem Green as he lofted a pass in the end zone that was picked off by Jamal Adams.
The Seahawks, though, again couldn’t move it, going three and out.
And finally, the defense caved, allowing the Packers to drive 62 yards in 11 plays to score on a 3-yard run by Dillon with 10:37 left in the game.
Dillon was met at the goal line by Bobby Wagner on third-and-goal but carried the future Hall of Fame linebacker into the end zone.
In the fourth quarter, Wilson attempted a pass to Tyler Lockett in the end zone from the Green Bay 43. Instead, safety Adrian Amos picked it off.
Green Bay then drove for another TD to make it 17-0.
The Packers led just 3-0 at the half despite outgaining the Seahawks 201-86.
The Packers drove into Seattle territory three times, but the Seahawks defense got the key stops when needed, forcing two field goals (one of which was missed) and getting a turnover on downs when the Packers threw incomplete on fourth-and-two at the 34.
Seattle got to Green Bay’s 35 on the final possession of the first half. But a holding penalty on Damien Lewis then took the Seahawks out of a field goal range and a Hail Mary pass to Metcalf fell incomplete as time ran out.
Wilson was 8-for-13 for 66 yards in the first half with six of his completions going to tight ends Gerald Everett (four for 36) and Will Dissly (two for 22).