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Seahawks-Lions: As I See It
How Geno Smith's play could impact the Seattle Seahawks moving forward, plus standouts and rookie updates: Seaside Joe 1660
After Colorado’s 43-35 double overtime win against Colorado State on Saturday night, head coach Deion Sanders opened his press conference speech with a line that I think feels just as reflective of Pete Carroll and Geno Smith’s feelings after the Seahawks’ Week 2 game against the Detroit Lions:
“Not happy with the way we played, but I’m happy with the win. You got to be happy with a W, no matter how it comes.”
Of course, Seattle is happy with how they played on Sunday in some aspects of the game and the Seahawks have to be elated that they beat the Lions on the road 37-31 in overtime to get their first win of the season.
You got to be happy with a W, no matter how it comes.
But the Seahawks also played well enough to beat the Lions by double-digits and never have to go to overtime, if not for mistakes, including penalties, missed field goals (plural), and far too many turn downs and bad decisions by the quarterback.
On one hand, I am surprised that the Seahawks are 1-1 and thrilled that they aren’t 0-2 given how they played in Week 1, the growing pile of injuries, and having to beat a team on the road that clearly wasn’t intimidated by Seattle’s offense. Fans should be way more hopeful this afternoon that the Seattle Seahawks aren’t nearly as bad as they looked in the second half of the first game: The Seahawks won on the road, they scored 31 points in regulation, they won an overtime game, and they beat a team that just beat the defending Super Bowl champions.
On the other…damn. With better quarterback play and Jason Myers doing what should be expected of him, this could have been a blowout.
Rather than feeling confident ahead of next week’s home game against the Carolina Panthers, I’m thinking “Okay, here we go again with a week-to-week nailbiter against any opponent”. I mean, there are worse things that can happen to a football team and a franchise.
Here are takeaways from Week 2’s 37-31 win over the Lions, as I see it.
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We need to talk about Geno Smith
As I see it, Geno Smith’s critics wrote back. Or didn’t write back. Whichever is the appropriate correspondence to imply that Geno still has several parts of his game that need to be improved in order for the Seahawks to be able to advance as far as they want to in the future.
Trust me, coming off of a win (that at many points before and during the game felt really unexpected) I know that for some fans the last thing we want to hear about is a negative. Especially because Geno completed a lot of passes, finished off the win in overtime, and had final stats that would imply he was dominant.
The problem for me is that he was not dominant. He wasn’t even good. And the stats do lie.
Deion is right, after a win you express gratitude for having an extra number in the left column. But the difference between Seattle winning and losing is maybe just the fact that Lions head coach Dan Campbell chose the wrong time to be conservative after 59 minutes of being aggressive, so why should we talk any differently about how Geno played and the fact that the Seahawks almost lost and will lose in the future if the issues are not fixed?
This is one of the LEAST CLUTCH plays in Seahawks history:
And it would be unfair of me to point out a play like this if it was just one boneheaded moment for a normally consistent quarterback. Over 10 years of Russell Wilson, we saw countless times when he tried to do too much and ended up hurting the team more than he helped. However, Wilson balanced those mistakes, not just with good plays, but with a lot of examples where his hero ball antics actually worked in the end.
When I see a play like this and think that the quarterback isn’t balancing it out, that’s when I start to conjure up memories of quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez and Mitchell Trubisky and…Geno Smith.
I was already going to give Geno a negative grade for his first half performance. This wasn’t the one play that nearly cost Seattle the win, it was just one of the plays that nearly cost Seattle a win. Geno turned down throws that could have been touchdowns, he chose to pass when he should have run, he mismanaged the clock, and then he lost 17 yards on a sack when he HAD TO throw the ball away. And those negatives—poor decisions, not knowing when to throw or run, and poor clock management—these are the negatives I put on him last season.
That’s when I go, “Okay, Geno is the same quarterback he’s always been.” Maybe that’s okay for this season, it’s not like the Seahawks have any other choice and I’m not advocating for Drew Lock right now because of it, but Pete Carroll and John Schneider have to be vigilant about scouting their quarterback options for 2024.
Geno Smith didn’t write back to his critics. He should. We’re trying to help him.
Devon Witherspoon: As advertised
As I see it, Devon Witherspoon is what I have expected him to be since before the draft: The missing ingredient.
Yes, Witherspoon was on the wrong end of a flea flicker touchdown from Jared Goff—he bit as hard on the fake as Lions OC Ben Johnson hoped the rookie would—but overall his NFL debut was even better than my highest expectations.
Witherspoon finished with five tackles, a broken pass on fourth down, and was in coverage on another huge stop. Better yet, Witherspoon showed up as Seattle’s second best cornerback after Riq Woolen left the game with a shoulder injury; Pete said after the game that Woolen will be “okay”.
The Seahawks best cornerback was Tre Brown, perhaps the first player in history to have a sack and a pick-six on back-to-back plays?
The theme of the game could be “Now I’m actually pissed” because Geno Smith’s best plays came after the refs threw a bullshit intentional grounding flag in the fourth quarter and Brown’s best career game came after he was benched. Pete Carroll should bench and piss off more players.
Of course, it’s not as though Seattle’s pass defense was outstanding: Amon-Ra St. Brown was unstoppable, catching six of seven for 102 yards, Josh Reynolds had two touchdowns and caught five of six, Sam LaPorta caught five of six.
That’s sort of just the nature of the game now: A lot of quarterbacks will complete over 70% of their passes with over 300 yards (Jared Goff finished 28/35, 323 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT), even the mediocre ones. Sometimes especially the mediocre ones because the NFL has become such a horizontal passing league. But the Seahawks still “held” the Lions to “only” 31 points and did enough to win.
(Anyone who thinks I’m being too critical of quarterback play or underrating these ‘awesome stats’, I do think you should go check Joshua Dobbs’ numbers for the Cardinals today.)
Detroit only punted once and went 6-of-11 on third downs, 1-of-3 on fourth downs. I’m only assuming that Seattle will still rank last in the NFL in third down defense, but it feels like a safe enough bet to share. The Seahawks need to play better against the Panthers next week and with Witherspoon, Woolen, and Brown (and maybe Jamal Adams) all playing together for the first time, maybe they will.
We’ve finally made contact
The box score will show that the Seahawks sacked Jared Goff two times, which is a relief. Goff was only sacked multiple times in seven starts last season and Seattle had zero against Matthew Stafford in Week 1. The box score will also show that Tre Brown had one of those, but Cameron Young was in for an assist. The other sack came from Dre’Mont Jones, also a welcome sight after he went unseen against the Rams.
The box score won’t show that the Lions moved their Pro Bowl right tackle to left tackle and lost their starting right guard mid-game. So Detroit was working with two backups on the right side and that helped spring the Seahawks for pressure on Goff.
I’m with Deion again on this one: Don’t complain too much, be grateful, it’s hard to get sacks in the NFL.
What we want to see more of against Carolina in Week 3 is edge rushers like Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor, Derick Hall, and hopefully Boye Mafe (who was inactive this week) pressuring quarterback Bryce Young of their own devices…and not after he’s handed the ball off already, Darrell Taylor.
Myers’d in controversy
As I see it, I’m not worried about Jason Myers yet. Myers missed two field goals—in a dome—a week after missing a field goal at home that he should have made.
Lost in the missed field goals is Myers going 4-of-4 on extra points and though 33 yards should be a gimme for any kicker above high school, it gives me optimism that this is not a case of yips. Myers missed one of his two field goals from 56 and though I still think he should make that, football fans have to account for a few painful missed kicks each year.
Maybe Jason Myers will be perfect from here on out.
On other special teams notes: Michael Dickson averaged over 50 yards per punt, including two inside the 20. He’s an EARLY candidate to be first-team All-Pro, something he hasn’t done since his rookie campaign in 2018. Jake Bobo was responsible for downing one of those at a critical time in the game and Jerrick Reed II had a huge tackle as a gunner in the first quarter.
As I see it, Jaxon Smith-Njigba will need time to catch up to the NFL, just as he was quiet as a freshman at Ohio State. JSN had five catches for 34 yards, giving him eight catches for 47 yards through his first two career games. The ONLY reason I even bring this up is because I think it’s interesting to monitor his progress because I do believe he’s going to become an NFL superstar. JSN is coming off of wrist surgery—who knows how healed he really is—and who knows how much that is impacting his ability to contribute, if at all.
It could be that he’s not going to be as trusted right now as guys like Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, which makes perfect sense.
Bobo caught his first NFL pass (for three yards), Zach Charbonnet had 16 rushing yards and 14 receiving yards, Cameron Young had a tackle for a loss, Olu Oluwatimi made his first appearance (then Evan Brown came back in), Derick Hall had a tackle for a loss, Reed II had a couple of key special teams plays, and then there was Witherspoon.
All in all, a very good day for the rookies.
What stood out to you on Sunday? Let me know in the comments and tell me how you see it:
I’m probably always going to be more critical of the Seahawks than most other writers, but only because I hold them to a higher standard. I’m with Deion Sanders, a win is a win and that’s the most important thing. But you don’t think Deion wants Colorado to finish 9-3, right?
The Seahawks were good enough to beat the Lions by at least 10 points in regulation. That’s good! It’s even better if it actually happens.