STACY ROST

Rost: Seahawks flipped big questions to become one of NFL’s best stories

Oct 24, 2022, 12:41 AM

Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith celebrates a touchdown against at SoFi Stadium. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Don’t look now but the Seahawks are in first place in the NFC West.

And they did it by besting their toughest opponent since Week 2.

How about that? Geno Smith-led Seahawks in first place in NFC West

Yes, the Chargers — like many of the opponents Seattle faced in weeks prior — were weakened. But they had their top two receivers and their top running back, and those three are among the NFL’s best.

The Chargers’ defense has struggled against the run this season and starting cornerback J.C. Jackson was benched in favor of his backup last week, but they also had one of this season’s sack leaders available in Khalil Mack.

Their young quarterback hadn’t thrown a passing touchdown the week prior, but also possesses one of the best arms in the league.

All this is to say that for all the important context surrounding each of Seattle’s wins and losses, the Seahawks are still 4-3 in a season where they’ve faced some real talent and obstacles, and in a year when most NFL experts had them staring down a top 10 draft pick.

And now, lo and behold, one of the biggest stories of the NFL season may also be one happening under-the-radar right here: that the Seahawks — a team that traded away a future Hall of Fame QB in is early 30s, and one that for so long had faced criticism (some fair) about its team building around him — might really, truly be pretty good.

Seven weeks in, that note about context remains very important. And it shades the way we interpret and measure Seattle’s success.

The Seahawks needed 48 points to move past Detroit in Week 4 and couldn’t find the end zone against San Francisco in Week 2. But look at it with today’s lens, and you’ll see Seattle put up more points than any other opponent against the battered Lions and that most teams, outside of Kansas City, have struggled against the 49ers’ defense. They are a team whose defense has looked downright dreadful too often. They are also a team who has found some success in spite of that. They are a team that will be an underdog in most games they enter this season, yet also a team that’s top 10 in scoring.

The Seahawks entered the season with plenty of question marks and have now found themselves creating new, ever more intriguing ones.

With an injury to Tre Brown and the departure of DJ Reed in free agency, one question this summer was: Who could be relied on at cornerback? Now, it’s: Could Tariq Woolen set a new franchise record for interceptions by a rookie?

“What do they do at quarterback?” became “Should this team extend Geno Smith?”

Most intriguing, of course, is that “How will they survive without Russell Wilson?” became “What did they know about Russell Wilson?”

And most exciting is that “What will they do with this draft capital?” became “Is this the best draft class they’ve had in years?”

The Seahawks don’t yet look the part of the NFL’s best, and they weren’t expected to. And as exciting as some of their bright spots have been, we’re not yet at the halfway mark of the season. There’s plenty more convincing to do if they are to be a playoff contender. But the NFL wouldn’t be the NFL without a few good stories, and Seattle may quietly have one of the league’s best.

More on the Seahawks

Salk: The three biggest reasons Seahawks have played way into first place
Recap: Walker, Goodwin lead Seahawks over Chargers 37-23
Seahawks Instant Reaction: Seattle Sports on 37-23 win over Chargers
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf will get MRI after suffering knee injury

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