Despite all the speculation leading up to Monday night’s season opener about how Wilson would be received in his first game against his former team, it was his former replacement who received the loudest ovation.
And stole the show.
As the boos reigned relentlessly over Wilson, the Lumen Field crowd celebrated every big play by Smith with chants of “GENO, GENO!” And there were just enough — including a pair of first-half touchdown passes — to take Seattle to a 17-16 victory.
It will take years to determine if the Seahawks made the right move by trading Wilson in March for a huge draw instead of trying to make things work with the best quarterback in franchise history. A match, no matter how exciting, does not validate this move. But it does provide immediate gratification for the Seahawks — and some hope for their fans that this season may not be the drudgery everyone assumed.
QB Breakdown: Making his first start in Week 1 since 2014, Smith didn’t look like a longtime backup who should be little more than a game director. He looked like an NFL starter. Smith completed his first 13 passes and was 17 of 18 with a pair of touchdowns in a near perfect first half. He was precise and avoided the big mistake that plagued him in crucial moments when he replaced Wilson last season. He also played with his legs, stepping into the pocket to escape pressure and dodging killer bags in the process. Smith went 23 of 28 for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Buy Breakout Performance by Seattle Tight Ends: A popular belief at team headquarters this offseason was that tight ends would make up a bigger part of the Seahawks’ offense this season — as backup quarterback Wilson would be more pitching than him. It felt like a prescient thought on Monday night, with go dissly, Noah Fan and Colby Parkinson catching eight passes combined for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Their combined nine targets were six shy of Seattle receivers. Seattle acquired Fant in the trade from Wilson and re-signed Dissly for three years and $24 million after testing free agency. The cost to sign him increased when another team chased him down hard. This team ? The Broncos.
Pivot play: On consecutive possessions in the third quarter, the Broncos headed for Seattle’s 1-yard line and looked set to score the touchdown. Both times the Seahawks defense held them out of the end zone by forcing a fumble on the goal line. outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu stripped Broncos running back Javonte Williams on the second, part of his Seattle debut that also included a sack, a pass defended and seven tackles. The Seahawks signed Nwosu to help them put more emphasis this season on 3-4 looks up front. The two-year, $19.055 million deal he signed in March made him the highest-paid free agent addition by APY under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have held Denver to six points on four trips to the red zone. –Brady Henderson
Underestimated statistics namely: Geno Smith is the third quarterback since 1990 to complete each of his first 13 passes in a Week 1 game — along with Gardner Minshew (2019 Jaguars) and Jim Kelly (1990 Bills).
Next game: at 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET, Sept. 18)
After an offseason filled with hopes and dreams that accompanied the arrival of quarterback Russell Wilson in Denver, it was the Broncos defense that had some scares on opening night.
Under the new defensive coordinator Used Everosthe Broncos tried to be aggressive in the pass rush, trying to keep the ball away from the Seahawks’ wide receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Locketbut that’s only outside linebacker Randy Gregory snatched the ball from Metcalf’s hands deep in the third quarter that the Broncos defense was able to settle into.
As a result, Wilson’s 340-yard passes and a touchdown were almost an indescribable footnote in a 17-16 Seattle win that ended in a miss. Brandon McManus field goal attempt from 64 yards.
It won’t be a carefree stroll through Denver’s defense ratings. The Seahawks tight ends caught six passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns before halftime, and the Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith completed his first 13 passes of the game as part of a 17-of-18 performance and two touchdowns in the first half.
Pivot play: The Broncos were in a fight from the start and never led. Their night ended when McManus missed a 64-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds left. On a third-and-14 with 1:11 left, Wilson hit Javonte Williams with a 9-yard pass, setting up a Seattle 46 fourth-and-5. Instead of going for the first down with three timeouts remaining immediately after the third pass , the Broncos cut the time to 20 seconds, called a timeout, then missed the basket.
Disturbing trend: Week 1 overreactions are as old as the NFL, but given that the Broncos reside in a division in which the other three teams have quarterbacks who were named to the Pro Bowl, Smith rotates and deals 17 on 18 passes in the opening half can not be ignored.
And although the Broncos harassed some and hit him multiple times, he got the ball out quickly, created pocket time with quality footwork and was more than willing to take the most completion. course available. One game doesn’t make a trend, but Broncos rushers are going to have to go to quarterback more often, and they can’t allow any quarterback to get into a 13-of-13 rhythm to open a game.
The biggest hole in the game plan: Part of that was certainly the Seahawks’ defensive game plan to keep things funneled to where the help was, but the Broncos’ wide receivers were only targeted twice in the first half when the Seahawks took control of the pace of the game.
Wilson didn’t put the ball in danger, and that was a good thing, but while coach Nathaniel Hackett hoped to be aggressive on offense, the Broncos weren’t the aggressor, especially early in the game. And when the Seahawks got the game rhythm where they wanted it, it became a struggle for the Broncos.
Denver’s wide receivers didn’t really get involved until late in the third and fourth quarters.
Disturbing Trend II: Double-digit penalties for more than 100 meters? Critics will point to Hackett’s easygoing approach in preseason games, in which virtually every starter hasn’t played at all.
Penalties came from both sides of the ball and were ill-timed – especially a false start with less than 7 minutes left and the Broncos inside the Seahawks’ 5-yard line – and were too often momentum-breakers . — Jeff Legwold
Underestimated statistics namely: The Broncos are the first team since the 1987 Chiefs to lose two fumbles from the opposing 1-yard line in the same game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The latest case occurred in a game using replacement players.
Next game: vs. Texans (4:25 p.m. ET, Sept. 18)