Huard: What changed for Geno Smith, Seahawks offense in 2nd half?

Sep 14, 2022, 9:57 AM

Seahawks Geno Smith...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks passes under presser from D.J. Jones of the Denver Broncos at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The first half couldn’t have gone better for the Seahawks and new starting quarterback Geno Smith on Monday against the Denver Broncos.

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Smith completed his first 13 passes and entered halftime having completed 17 of 18 attempts for 164 yards and two touchdown passes. That resulted in a 17-13 halftime lead for Seattle.

But the second half was a struggle offensively for Smith and the Seahawks as they did not score against Denver’s defense. But thanks to two Broncos turnovers and a very questionable decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal, Seattle won the highly-anticipated Week 1 opener at Lumen Field in primetime.

So what exactly changed for Smith and the Seahawks starting in the third quarter? That was one of three Seahawks questions former NFL quarterback Brock Huard tackled in Blue 88 during Tuesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

“Three possessions, no rhythm. Couldn’t stay on the field. Couldn’t get the number of plays,” Huard said. “… It was just reminiscent at times of a season ago. And when they do struggle, there’s just not enough plays to get yourself into rhythm.”

Last season, even with Russell Wilson under center, the Seahawks struggled to sustain drives and finished dead last in average time of possession at 25:17, more than two minutes less than the next-closest team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that finished with the worst record in football last year.

In the first half, Huard noted, Smith and the Seahawks were able to sustain drives, even when faced with third-and-long situations.

“Seven-of-nine on third down to begin the game. Critical third down conversions. Third-and-8 conversions, third-and-10 conversion, I think a third-and-14 via the penalty conversion,” he said. “They were able to get enough plays to get themselves into enough rhythm that they could go, that they could move the football. And that just was not the case in very limited opportunities in that second half.”

Aside from the technical final drive of the game where Seattle took three kneel downs to kill the clock, the Seahawks had just three drives on offense in the second for a net gain of 47 yards and zero points.

“That’s not going to be good enough,” Huard said.

A big difference between the two halves? How Smith navigated the pocket.

“Geno, I think, did a fabulous job stepping up into the pocket (in the first half),” Huard said. “Teaching tape for the courage it takes to step up into the fire. It’s a lot easier to get flushed out where there’s some green grass and open field. You see so many young quarterbacks find safe harbor in fleeing the pocket. That first half, there were two occasions teaching tape to step up.”

That wasn’t the case in the second half, including the two times Smith was sacked by Denver edge rusher Bradley Chubb.

“I thought both sacks he had the same opportunity to do so. He didn’t feel it. He didn’t feel that rush of Bradley Chubb,” Huard said. “One was a sack fumble, the other was a sack. Those were two of the three second half possessions. Would have loved to still have seen him feel that and step up into the pocket. That would have benefited their offense dramatically in the second half.”

Listen to Tuesday’s Blue 88 at this link or in the player below.

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