Instant Reaction: Geno leads winning drive, Seahawks beat Rams 27-23

Dec 4, 2022, 4:44 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm
Seahawks Geno Smith...
Seahawks QB Geno Smith throws the ball in Seattle's win over the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 4, 2022. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Seahawks bounced back. Not just from two disappointing losses in a row, but from a late deficit to a beat-up Los Angeles Rams team, too.

Seahawks 27, Rams 23: Recap story | Box score

Geno Smith led a game-winning drive in the closing moments for the first time since taking over as Seahawks QB, and Seattle escaped SoFi Stadium with a 27-23 win over the Rams, who got a big performance from former Seahawks star linebacker Bobby Wagner on Sunday. The win improves the Hawks to 7-5, though they’re still trailing the 8-4 San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West lead.

As we do after each Hawks game, we’ve collected the instant reactions to the win from the voices of Seattle Sports. Read what they have to say below, and catch much more of their insight and analysis all day Monday on Seattle Sports 710 AM, including when the head coach stops by for the weekly The Pete Carroll Show at 9:30 a.m.

What feels good and what doesn’t from Seahawks’ win over Rams

Mike Salk – Brock and Salk (6-10 a.m.)

We’ve been waiting. Waiting to see whether Geno Smith could take his brilliant season and add to it with some clutch two-minute drives.

We know he is accurate and has a strong arm. He has shown himself to be in tremendous command of this offense. His work at the line of scrimmage has been excellent. And he has used his legs at just the right times. But trailing by three with just over two minutes to play, he did exactly what the top quarterbacks get paid to do.

He led his team to the win.

And he did it with some really strong throws. Hitting Tyler Lockett on third-and-10 was the key. The cannon he unleashed to Marquise Goodwin made things a lot easier. And the bullet to DK Metcalf for the final score showed off all of his skills: accuracy, strength, vision and mobility.

Geno Smith saved the Seahawks’ season. To lose a third straight game (and especially to this imitation of the reigning champs) would have been disastrous. And while their defense still has some major issues to work out and they’ll need to figure out who is going to balance this offense out at running back, Geno showed that he is fully capable of doing what the best in the league do: winning games when it counts.

Stacy Rost – Bump and Stacy (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

The Seahawks got the win to keep their playoff chase going, Tariq Woolen set a franchise record, Geno Smith came up clutch in the end, and maybe that’s all that should matter.

It was enough to feel like Seattle found a fifth-round gem on defense in Woolen. Enough to feel like a $30-plus million per year deal for Smith – who really only had to answer whether he could engineer a game-winning fourth-quarter drive – would be well worth it.

That last part is what makes the defensive struggles in this one easier to swallow. A win will do it, yes. But a win with the fourth-best scoring offense in the league, 100-plus yard days from your top two receivers, and a heckuva game from Smith is what might allow Seattle to do something more surprising with its two first-round picks this spring.

Months ago we’d all be expecting this team to find its quarterback of the future. There are plenty of tempting suitors in this upcoming draft class – far more than last year anyway – and that temptation will linger regardless of how Smith finishes the year. But also tempting is the decision to use what could be a top-three pick on an elite defender. Because if anything has been made clear from this year and this game, it’s that this defense needs fixing – and part of the answer may not yet be on the roster.

But back to the present for now. Once again, Seattle’s defense was gashed on the ground. The Rams finished with a season-high 171 rushing yards. LA, one of the worst scoring offenses in the league, nearly got the win with a late touchdown from running back Cam Akers (his second of the game) that put them up 23-20.

The good news is the Seahawks’ offense is good enough to win a playoff game. The bad news is the defense is bad enough to hold them back … unless they can figure out a way to stop the run over the next five weeks.

Bob Stelton – Wyman and Bob (2-7 p.m.)

The Seahawks got it done! It wasn’t always pretty and certainly concerns remain with the defense, but they got the win and that’s all that matters.

More importantly, we finally saw the one thing we hadn’t seen from Geno, a game-winning drive. With the Hawks trailing 23-20, Geno and the offense go 75 yards on nine plays in 3:50 to take the lead. He was calm, cool and collected, and that was a huge drive for him and the team!

Throw in great days for Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and it was a solid day for the offense despite rookie running back Kenneth Walker III leaving with an injury and DeeJay Dallas playing hurt.

The defense… has some concerns. They ultimately made the big plays when they needed to. Great day for Tariq Woolen coming up with his sixth interception of the season and Uchenna Nwosu with two of Seattle’s four sacks.

The biggest problem on defense remains stopping the run. The Rams came into this game averaging 79.7 rushing yards per game, 31st in the league. They ended the day with 171 yards and two TDs on the ground. We already saw the Hawks’ defense get run over by the worst rushing attack in the league, the Tampa Bay Bucs. Today they faced a taped-together offensive line with a backup QB who was missing the Rams’ best offensive weapon in Copper Kupp, yet LA was able to move the ball very well on the ground. Definitely something that needs to be corrected immediately if the Seahawks hope to get to (much less make any noise in) the playoffs.

Dave Wyman – Wyman and Bob

Mike Lefko – Wyman and Bob

I’m not sure that is the game we expected to happen, but the Seahawks got the game-winning drive out of Geno Smith that we hadn’t seen yet this season. It was a masterful performance from Smith on that final drive, which included hitting Lockett over the middle on a big third down and throwing a dart on the touchdown to DK Metcalf.

In a game where the Seahawks had to call upon their fourth-string running back, the passing game was needed, and it delivered. Nearly identical stat lines from Metcalf and Lockett carried the day and Geno was accurate to the tune of 367 yards, three touchdowns, and a very, VERY dubious interception call.

No offense goes in expecting to not have their top two running backs available, and the Seahawks did an admirable job overcoming the loss of Ken Walker early in the game.

Yet, the defense (except for Tariq Woolen!) is a major issue. A Rams team devoid of all its major offensive weapons and struggling to run the football at a rate that was the second-worst in the NFL sliced right through the Seahawks in the first half for 95 yards. They finished with 171 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, allowing QB John Wolford to move in the pocket and get free looks on bootlegs and play-action for most of the game. There were some key stops in the red zone that kept Rams touchdowns off the board, but there was an overall state of unease every time the defense was on the field.

Despite all that, a win is a win. They don’t come easy in the NFL and in a crowded NFC playoff race this was an important one for the Seahawks. Running back depth is a concern and run defense remains a big question mark, but those are questions for another day. Today, it’s a win and big step toward staying right in the thick of the playoff mix.

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Instant Reaction: Geno leads winning drive, Seahawks beat Rams 27-23