Journeyman Quarterback Rejuvenates Career in Seattle
Veteran quarterback, Geno Smith, is notorious for being involved in a locker room fight, fracturing his jaw in 2015 as a member of the New York Jets.
Seven years later, Smith has inconspicuously found success as a Seahawk. Following the Seahawks' departure of Super Bowl Champion, Russell Wilson in March via a blockbuster trade with the Denver Broncos, expectations for Seattle were despondent. Until the unthinkable happened.
The stage is set, Week 1, Monday Night Football, a homecoming matchup for Wilson as the Broncos face the Seahawks in Seattle. The Broncos entered the game as heavy favorites, but the Seahawks' defense shut down Denver. Smith capitalized by throwing for two first-half touchdowns, propelling the Seahawks to an improbable 16-17 upset victory.
After serving as Wilson’s backup for the previous three seasons, becoming a starting quarterback again seemed unimaginable for Smith. This season marks Smith’s first time being the starting quarterback for his team since 2014. Up to this point, Smith had been sitting behind well-established talents such as Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Wilson.
Smith led the flock to victory in Week 4, against the Detroit Lions on the road. A 48-45 shootout affair between two great offenses. Completing 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards, two touchdowns, and a 132.6 passer rating. In addition to rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown. This outstanding performance earned Smith the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. This was his second time winning the award in his career, his first making of this honor as a rookie in 2013.
In Week 5, the Seattle Seahawks faced the New Orleans Saints on the road, and Smith didn’t disappoint, as he completed 16 of 25 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Arguably Smith’s best pass of the game was a 40-yard bomb to wide receiver Tyler Lockett in between two Saints defenders to close the first half. Despite Smith’s exceptional performance, New Orleans defeated Seattle 39-32 in the Superdome.
Given the opportunity, Smith has exceeded expectations recharging, the Seahawks, and giving the 12th man an unexpected promise. Though Seattle is only 2-3, they are only one game behind the leading San Francisco 49ers.
Seattle’s most significant discrepancy is their defense. The Seahawks' defense has given up 27 points or more in each game this year aside from the season-opener against Denver. So far this season, the Seahawks' defense has ranked dead last in EPA per play.
An anomaly to the offense, which is ranked fourth in EPA per play. Additionally, Seattle has scored the third most points this season only behind the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions. Smith has helped engineer the Seahawks into one of the league’s best offenses.
Through five games, Smith leads the NFL with a passer rating of 113.1 and a completion percentage of 75.2% percent. Furthermore, Smith isn’t a slouch in throwing the ball down the field either as he is ranked highest in big-time throw rate with a 6.4% percent and third best with 8.3 yards per pass attempt.
It’s strange to believe but Smith is emerging as one of the premier passers in the NFL. Quickly outperforming his former superior, Wilson, in poetic justice fashion. Smith is doing the unimaginable, entering the apex of his career at the age of 32 but it’s been done before oddly enough, remember Rich Gannon?
Ultimately, it’s hard not to root for this guy. If Smith continues to play at this pace, he will likely take home this year’s Comeback Player of the Year award, and rightfully so.
Of course, there’s plenty of football left to be played. And we’ll see what else the Smith led Seahawks to unpack throughout the season.