GRAMEno Smith, for most of his career, had been synonymous with the most pervasive swear word in the NFL: bust. Going into this season, even as he had quietly shown maturity on the field, no one bought the Seattle Seahawks as a competitive franchise. There were several reasons, including sloppy game management and unknowns at the corner, but most were based on the fact that few outside of Seattle viewed Smith as a legitimate NFL quarterback.
He went on to prove doubters wrong on Sunday, leading the Seahawks to a 48-45 victory over Detroit on the way. Smith was electric. He annihilated the Lions’ poor defense, throwing dimes to DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Will Dissly. All told, Smith completed 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 49 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Smith had back-to-back 300-yard passing games for the first time in his NFL career, a testament to Pete Carroll’s growing faith in his quarterback’s abilities.
Smith shouldn’t be here, still playing and winning games as a starter. His NFL career began with a thud: A star in West Virginia and once a potential top-10 pick in the 2013 draft, Smith fell to the New YorkJets in the second round at No. 39 overall. Smith said all the right things about it, whether he was the No. 1 pick or the 39th pick, that he was in a good spot. Hey no.
The Jets were at the end of Rex Ryan’s reign, lacking in offensive skills and protection. Smith’s first two seasons produced 34 interceptions and just 25 touchdowns, and New Yorkers, not known for their patience, gave up on him. Whether it was a problem with the culture or the scheme (Smith took over broadcasting in college), he seemed a far cry from the next Joe Namath.
It may have been given a chance at a fresh start when Todd Bowles entered the building in 2015, but then came the blow. A teammate, IK Enemkpali, approached Smith in the locker room and punched him in the face over a dispute over a plane ticket, fracturing the quarterback’s jaw. Smith’s teammates weren’t exactly lining up to show their support for him, and Ryan Fitzpatrick became the regular starter. Smith then tore his ACL and his career with the Jets was effectively over.
Somehow though Hears was the one who took the punch and not the other way around, Smith was labeled as a problem. Quarterbacks who start out in such turmoil are usually left for dead, especially young black men in the mid-2010s. But Smith bounced back and bounced around the league, picking up chances here and there before becoming the Russell Wilson endorsement in 2019.
He did well when he needed to step up, but the Seahawks were Wilson’s team … until they weren’t. Smith survived a battle with Drew Lock, and rumors of a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, and, for the first time in eight years, started Week 1.
Smith’s resurrection from quarterback purgatory is a feel-good story in itself. But it’s not just a placeholder as the team rebuilds. His decision-making has been mostly phenomenal, as we saw in Sunday’s win over Detroit and Wilson’s upset of the Broncos in Week 1. He’s a much more mature brand of quarterback.
As Smith said in the run-up to the season: “I don’t have to make all the plays, I don’t have to play hero-ball.”
Smith now leads a stable franchise, knows the playbook, has better protection than Wilson ever had (thanks to the Seahawks turning Wilson’s first-round trade pick into the starting LT Charles Cross), and can trust receivers. of Elite.
We are only four weeks into the season and anything can happen. But in a weak NFC, why not Geno and the Seahawks?
MVP of the week
Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants. In case there was any doubt, SAQUON IS BACK. Barkley, now healthy, continued his impressive comeback, this time propelling the Giants to a peculiar 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears. Barkley had 146 rushing yards, and leads the NFL in career.
And in the fourth quarter with Daniel Jones out with an ankle injury and Tyrod Taylor suffering a hoof-to-hoof hit, Barkley grabbed his cape and stepped into the quarterback role (well, the savage quarterback role). Still, with Barkley taking direct plays, the Giants held a narrow lead and are now 3-1 in a surprisingly competitive NFC East.
videos of the week
I have no words for this either. Lamar Jackson continues to make magic in ways we haven’t seen since Michael Vick.
Jackson was on the losing end of this week’s quarterback battle royal against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, falling 23-20. The Ravens will have to figure out how they lost a 20-3 lead. It got worse: Tied 20-20 with just over four minutes left and very little Ravens offense in the second half, John Harbaugh opted to go for fourth and goal instead of opting for a field goal and 3-pointer almost sure. Lead. Jackson instead threw a pick that helped set up Buffalo’s game-winning field goal.
Statistics of the week
four Did Trevor Lawrence know there would be a torrential downpour in Philly? Has he ever played in the rain? These are the questions we’re left with after Lawrence turned the ball over five times, including all four lost fumbles in Jacksonville’s 29-21 loss to Philadelphia. That makes Lawrence the first player this century to turn the ball over four times in a game.
The Jaguars took a 14-0 lead and looked like they could unseat the last remaining undefeated team. But the Eagles’ defense followed up last week’s nine-sack performance with another gem.
quote of the week
“This is a match we had to win, for sure. We can’t be 2-2 losing to a third-tier quarterback.” – Aaron Rogers.
Rodgers went on to praise “third-tier quarterback” aka New England Patriots rookie Bailey Zappe.
What an exciting watch. erase. Rodgers. overtime The rookie entered the game when backup Brian Hoyer left with a head injury. The Patriots ran a run-heavy offense with Zappe, but he had a controversial 25-yard touchdown throw to DeVante Parker. After a lackluster first half, Rodgers came alive in the second and led the Green Bay Packers to a game-winning field goal in overtime. Because of course he did.
Elsewhere in the league
Tom Brady-Patrick Mahomes series now sits at 3-3 after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41-31 on Sunday Night Football. Brady put in his best performance of the season, finishing with three touchdowns and no interceptions for 385 receiving yards. But he didn’t have a running game to back him up, as the Bucs managed just three yards on six rushing carries. Mahomes was typically excellent, hitting some amazing pitches, including the ridiculous effort below.
Social media calls to bench Mitchell Trubisky for Kenny Pickett came through. Trubisky, who showed almost no pocket sense in 3 1/2 games this season, was replaced by the rookie. Pickett’s first pass in the NFL was an interception (just like Peyton Manning’s) and he would throw two more interceptions that cost the Steelers in a 24-20 loss to the New York Jets. But he offered more options than Trubisky, and had two rushing touchdowns.
Baker Mayfield’s career reinvention at Carolina continues to disappoint. The Panthers, of course, are a pretty poor team and the Arizona Cardinals’ defense harassed them all day, but Mayfield’s struggles aren’t just due to others. Panthers fans booed the former No. 1 overall pick during 26-16 loss to the Cardinals while knocking down receivers, he had passes rejected and gave away three turnovers. Anybody want some Sam Darnold?
The Las Vegas Raiders are no longer winless! They beat the Denver Broncos 32-23 thanks to a great day of racing, registering 212 rushing yards. Russell Wilson had a solid game, but Denver too often failed to capitalize on his good position on the field.
The Cowboys have a history of excellent quarterbacks. But it’s Cooper Rush who has outclassed them all in one category, becoming the first Cowboys quarterback to win his first four starts. Rush once again provided a consistent if unremarkable presence, throwing for 223 yards and two touchdowns, completing 15 of 27 attempts. But it was the Dallas defense that cemented a 25-10 command beat Washington. DeMarcus Lawrence had seven quarterback pressures, continuing his Defensive Player of the Year nomination.
The dominoes continue to fall following Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion Thursday night, four days after he re-entered a game against the Bills despite looking shaken after being thrown to the ground. The NFLPA fired the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant who cleared Tagovailoa last Sunday, though the NFL and NFLPA released a joint statement that they have yet to reach any conclusions about medical errors or protocol violations. The league and union also agreed to update their concussion protocol. Going forward, any player displaying gross motor instability will be automatically banned from a game.
JJ Watt dropped some eerily timely own medical news.
We are grateful that he is healthy, first of all. But it seems a bit surprising that he was cleared to play on Sunday.