The “Ge-No! Ge-No!” chants cascaded down from the Lumen Field stands like a stiff Seattle rain upon the Seahawks’ starting quarterback following Monday night’s 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos.
In his first game as Russell Wilson’s replacement, Geno Smith was dang near flawless out of the gate, completing 17 of 18 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
“How about Geno? I mean, Geno, 17 for 18 in the first half,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Who does that? Guys just don’t do that. Remember, he did it against Jacksonville. He had, I don’t know, 12, 13 in a row, something like that. Geno played tonight like he has been playing the whole time we’ve been practicing. That’s what he has been looking like. He didn’t look any different than what he has looked like in practice. That’s why we had the belief in him, and that’s why he was able to win the job and go out there on Monday Night Football and win the football game.”
Smith looked superb early, playing calm in the pocket, stepping through pressure and finding open receiver after open receiver, dicing up the Denver secondary with 13 straight completions to start the game.
Monday marked the former second-round pick’s first season-opening start since 2014 with the New York Jets. Since then, he’s been relegated to backup duty.
“They wrote me off, I ain’t write back, though,” Smith smartly quipped to ESPN following the victory.
He wrote back Monday night, declaring his career is not dead.
“He made more plays with his legs than I expected him to tonight,” Carroll said. “…You can see. I don’t know if you guys were doubting, or if everybody thinks that we were making stuff up. We weren’t. This is what he looks like. Obviously, he just did it again.”
Smith’s play early helped ease the transition from the Wilson era. The veteran QB noted, “we have to be better in the second half,” as the offense got stuck in the mud. He finished 23-of-28 for 194 yards and two TDs for a 119.5 passer rating. But his overall play proved he could be the type of signal-caller Carroll wants for his club.
Despite the heady play in Week 1, Smith said he isn’t resting on one-game laurels.
“Not at all. Not at all. Not that I don’t feel validated,” he said. “I’ve always felt validated, so this win won’t do it for me. It was just another win, great win, with the team. I love the way our guys stood up. I love the passion we played with, and we just have to keep that going.”
Monday night’s victory was a resounding success for Smith and the Seahawks, but the QB knows it’s a long season. He still has more writing left to do.
“We’re happy,” he said. “We feel like we can win a lot of games if we play like that, complete team football, but for me it’s just one win. It’s just one game. We have to be ready for 16 more.”
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