Is Geno Smith back? Or did he finally arrive?
The former Jets 2013 second-round pick put on a quarterback clinic Monday night in Seattle’s season opener against Denver. Geno played a huge role in ruining Russell Wilson’s return to the Emerald City by completing 17 of 18 passes in the first half. In the end, the Seahawks got an assist from Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, but a win is a win.
It’s taken Smith eight years to make it back to full-time starter status, and he took full advantage of that Monday night. This was his first Opening Day start since 2014 when he was with the Jets. There is something to be said for Geno’s perseverance through all the criticism of his game and work ethic. As Smith mentioned following Monday’s win, people wrote him off, which might be an understatement.
There are plenty of fans rooting for the Geno Smith comeback story since Black NFL QBs don’t always get that second or third shot at glory like many of their white counterparts. See Ryan Fitzpatrick and all the opportunities he got during his 17-year career while never leading a team to the postseason. Hell, a guy like Josh Rosen continues to pop up on rosters as a backup, and he probably doesn’t deserve that opportunity.
Despite everything, at least for one game, Geno Smith was nearly unstoppable in what was by far the biggest game of the year in Seattle. If things go downhill from here, and Seattle loses every game moving forward, this night against Russ and the Broncos will be the highlight of 2022 for The 12th Man.
But for now, the Seahawks are in first place in the NFC West as every other team in the division lost their Week 1 matchup. You won’t find anyone who predicted that entering the season. Nobody gave the Seahawks a shot at beating Wilson’s Broncos, but Smith also wasn’t expected to catch fire the way he did and light Denver up in such a manner. Smith completed 82 percent of his passes, didn’t throw a pick, and compiled a 119.5 passer rating.
He also threw two touchdowns.
A high bar has been set by Geno going into Week 2 in San Francisco with that 82 percent completion rate. This one victory won’t make everyone a believer, but it indeed sets the table for what might end up being a more exciting year in Seattle than expected. I certainly had the Seahawks pegged as one of the five worst teams in the league heading into Week 1. They could still be that, but for at least one week this season, Seattle is in sole possession of first place in their division.