BRANDON GUSTAFSON

Let Geno Cook? Seahawks’ opened-up offense shining with Smith at helm

Oct 2, 2022, 2:03 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the Detroit Lions on October 02, 2022. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It was a near-perfect start for Geno Smith in Week 1 for the Seahawks as he completed 17 of 18 passes for 164 yards and two scores. After that, the offense went dead silent for two weeks, failing to score for six quarters in a row.

Fast Facts: Seahawks hold off Lions in 48-45 shootout

Smith’s completion rate of 81% through Week 2 was certainly notable, but he had just 392 yards to show for it, and both of his passing touchdowns came in the first two quarters of the season.

After Seattle’s Week 2 loss to San Francisco, head coach Pete Carroll said Smith is “ready to go” and that the Seahawks don’t need to hold him back.

“We need to trust him and we need to maybe give him a few more opportunities and stuff,” he told Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Brock and Salk. “We’ve been pretty solidly conservative, counting on running the football, and when we didn’t run the football then OK, we didn’t have much of a mix that we needed. We can do better with that. And whether that’s right or wrong, that’s not the point. The point is that we need to keep expanding. We have too many explosive avenues to go to and we’ve got to make sure that these guys show up.”

That conservative approach changed in Week 3, though, as even in a losing effort, Smith played well against the Atlanta Falcons, completing 72.7% of his passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw an interception, but that was on a desperation play on fourth-and-long at the end of the game.

The issue with that game – outside of losing – was that, once again, Seattle struggled in the second half, scoring just three points.

Smith and the Seahawks’ offense finally put together a complete and thorough game Sunday in Detroit, though, beating the Lions 48-45. And Smith was the star of the show.

Smith started hot yet again, completing 12 of 14 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. Heck, Smith even ran for 40 yards and a score before halftime.

He didn’t score any touchdowns in the second half, but he still played very well, completing 11 of 16 passes for 150 yards with 11 yards rushing. In the third and fourth quarters, Smith led two touchdown drives, one field goal drive as well as another drive where kicker Jason Myers shanked a short field goal try.

And the Seahawks on Sunday were 9-for-12 on third down, bringing their season percentage to 55.3%. That’s a big jump from their 37.3% mark last year (23rd in NFL) and 38.4% mark in 2020 (27th in NFL).

All in all, it was Smith’s best performance of the year as he finished the day with 371 total yards and three total touchdowns.

In those first two weeks, we saw a lot of short and quick passes from Smith. That’s still a key part of the Seahawks’ offense, and Smith has been incredibly productive in that type of play. But the offense has been far less conservative these last two weeks with Smith taking more shots down the field.

On Sunday, Smith found his two star receivers downfield, hitting DK Metcalf for a 54-yard gain and Tyler Lockett for a long catch of 34 yards.

And speaking of the two star receivers, they were focal points in Week 4 after some mild production to open up the year.

Against Detroit’s outmatched and statistically poor defense, Metcalf caught seven passes for 149 yards. He entered the day with just 135 receiving yards on the young season.

Lockett, meanwhile, reeled in six catches for 91 yards after entering Sunday with 211 receiving yards in 2022.

The tight ends stayed involved with Will Dissly and Noah Fant each catching a touchdown – Dissly’s third this season – and the running game looked a bit like it did at the end of 2022 with Rashaad Penny running for 151 yards and two scores.

Smith ran the show, and did so very well. Yes, the Lions are a porous defense so far in 2022, but it’s extremely difficult to put up 40 points on any NFL defense. It’s a good sign for a Seattle offense living in a post-Russell Wilson world to show the Hawks can put up points when they need to.

Quick note on Wilson, who the Seahawks beat in Week 1: the $245 million Pro Bowl had just two total touchdowns through Week 3. Smith is at seven through Week 4 and had three in the first half alone on Sunday.

OK, going back to the Hawks being able to put up points when they need to, that is especially critical because boy, the Seahawks have been bad defensively to open the year, and no game was worse in that regard than Sunday with the Lions scoring 45 points and producing more than 500 yards of total offense.

Outside of a fabulous pick-six by rookie corner Tariq Woolen, there was next to nothing to write home about for Seattle’s defense in Detroit as that unit allowed 378 yards through the air and 145 yards on the ground. That looks even worse when you consider the Lions were without their top receiver and running back for this one, as well as their No. 3 receiver.

The Seahawks are back to .500 after Sunday’s win. If they’re going to try and stay competitive and make some noise, they’re gonna need to put up some points, and Week 4 was a big step in showing they can do that.

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Let Geno Cook? Seahawks’ opened-up offense shining with Smith at helm