BRANDON GUSTAFSON

With Seahawks’ top OTs out, Geno and O-line nearly perfect in thrilling win

Sep 17, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:12 pm

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith offensive line...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks throws a pass against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 17, 2023. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Hope you’ve caught your breath, Seattle Seahawks fans.

Seahawks 37, Lions 31: Instant Reaction | The Big Plays | Recap | Stats

The Hawks went into a raucous Detroit environment and, like last year, came away with a thrilling win in a shootout. This time, the Seahawks won 37-31 in overtime.

Entering this game, there were serious question marks about Seattle’s offense. And for very good reason.

Last week, the Hawks had just 12 yards total in the second half of a 30-13 Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Making matters harder for Seattle this week was the fact that the Hawks and quarterback Geno Smith were without starting left tackle Charles Cross due to a toe injury, while starting right tackle Abraham Lucas missed his first of at least four games on injured reserve due to a knee injury. Stone Forsythe made his first career start at left tackle while Jake Curhan was tasked with filling in for Lucas on the right side.

Additionally, the Seahawks were going into a really, really tough environment in Detroit. It was the Lions’ home opener, they were unveiling a statue of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, and they were coming off a Week 1 upset of the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Lions’ defense played very well in Kansas City in Week 1 and made life very hard for star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

No Cross or Lucas? No problem for Smith and the Seahawks’ passing attack.

“There are so many guys that did great stuff today in this game, and I’m starting with the tackles,” head coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. ” There were a lot of people that wrote us off because they didn’t think Stone could get it done or Jake could get it done. But they did. They did a phenomenal job today. They held up their end of it, stepped up just like we ask guys to do and came through in a huge way.”

Smith had one of the best games of his career and certainly in his time as Seattle’s starting quarterback, completing 32 of 41 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores went to Tyler Lockett, including the walk-off touchdown in overtime.

“Geno had a spectacular day and he leads us down the field in OT,” Carroll said, adding that the best part of that touchdown drive was the pass protection.

“The most exquisite part of that last drive was the pass protection. Gosh, it was just there.”

Smith wasn’t just kept clean on that drive, but nearly the entire game.

The 2022 Pro Bowler was sacked just once, but it was more of a coverage sack rather than anything the offensive line did. In fact, that sack really was Smith’s lone mistake of the day, a 17-yard loss on third down at the 2-minute warning in the fourth quarter. The sack by linebacker Alex Anzalone was also the only quarterback hit the Lions were credited with all game between over 33 minutes of offensive possession.

Smith deserves a lot of credit for this win. He was stellar. But it’s also his job to lead the Seahawks to these kinds of wins. That comes with the responsibility of his new contract as well as just being a starting quarterback in general.

So really, the offensive line was the star of the show. That unit, which consisted of Forsythe, guard Damien Lewis, center Evan Brown (and a few snaps of Olu Oluwatimi), guard Phil Haynes and Curhan played as well as they could have in Week 2. Offensive line coach Andy Dickerson deserves his flowers for that, as well. Seattle’s tight end trio and running backs also should get some love for helping Smith stay clean and have time to pick apart Detroit’s defense.

Sure, the run game lagged behind with 25 rushes for just 82 yards, “good” for an average of just 3.3 yards per carry, but this was one of those games that going into had all the makings for a shootout, and shootouts typically involve a lot of passing.

That’s another part of what makes the offensive line’s performance stand out so much. Smith had 45 dropbacks (41 attempts, three rushes and one sack) this game!

The Seahawks’ should be feeling really good about their offensive line coming out of this week. Lucas can’t return until Week 7, and it’s unclear if Cross will be back next week when Seattle hosts Arizona. But if he’s out, the duo of Forsythe and Curhan should walk into Lumen Field with their heads up high and chests puffed out after their performances this week in Detroit.

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