DETROIT, Mich. - Losing two of their first three games, the Seahawks had plenty of concerns heading into a Week 4 road tilt against the Lions. But surprisingly, replacing Russell Wilson under center, Geno Smith hasn't been one the issues holding the team back thus far.
In fact, as further evidenced by masterfully orchestrating a 48-45 shootout victory at Ford Field on Sunday, Smith suddenly looks more than capable of carrying Seattle when called upon running Shane Waldron's offense.
Continuing his unprecedented run of accuracy and efficiency to start the season, Smith posted a fourth consecutive game with a 70-plus percent completion rate, connecting on 23 out of 30 pass attempts for 320 yards and tossing a pair of touchdowns to tight ends Will Dissly and Noah Fant. On top of his throwing accolades, he torched Detroit's defense with his underrated mobility, rushing seven times for 49 yards and scoring an eight-yard touchdown on a designed QB draw in the red zone.
"Geno played some spectacular football," coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game. "Spectacular football. Not just the throwing and the catching, but the command of the game and running the whole show. He did an incredible job, and he ran the ball, too, for 50 yards or something. Fantastic day, I don't know how you could do a whole lot more, play a whole lot better than that."
In the process, Smith notched a bit of history for himself. According to ESPN charting, his 77.3 percent completion rate through four games stands as the highest mark in NFL history for passers with at least 125 attempts. He also joined Tom Brady (2007) and Derek Carr (2020) as only the third quarterback ever to have four straight starts completing at least 70 percent of his passes.
What kind of company does that put Smith in? While it's still a relatively small sample size, out of the other nine players in the top-10 in NFL history in completion rate through the first four games, only Eli Manning and Derek Carr didn't earn a spot in the Pro Bowl. Three of those players, including Wilson in 2020, earned First or Second-Team All-Pro recognition. There's a lot of notable names behind him.
Of course, before anyone starts going off on a tangent throwing his name out as a dark horse MVP candidate, not all of Smith's numbers stack up favorably with the rest of the list. Only Manning threw less touchdowns than the former West Virginia star and though it's far from the most important category, he ranks dead last among the 10 quarterbacks in total yardage.
Considering some of those underwhelming numbers, a fall back to earth can't be ruled out for a journeyman like Smith, especially with a young offensive line featuring two rookie tackles protecting him.
With that said, Smith has proven he can shoulder a greater load than many anticipated after taking the reins as Wilson's successor and continues to become more comfortable commanding Waldron's system by week. He's also building strong chemistry with several of his receivers, including throwing three touchdowns to Dissly thus far and posting 100-plus yard games to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett in the past three weeks.
"He's been on fire all year," Metcalf said after posting a season-high 149 receiving yards in Sunday's win. "He keeps building, keeps getting better week by week, and our chemistry keeps growing, and we're finally building an identity for ourselves."
Given the talent around him and the current state of Seattle's struggling defense, Smith may need to throw the ball a lot to keep his team in games in a fashion similar to Sunday's track meet in Motown. That could both help and hurt his numbers, as a higher volume would likely lower completion rate but increase chances for touchdown passes and bolster yardage.
Time will tell if Smith can come anywhere close to sustaining his current level of play over the course of a full season. But with the Seahawks now sitting at 2-2 in the NFC West and set to hit the road again next week against a beatable Saints team, his coaches and teammates have no doubt he will keep firing on all cylinders and give them a great chance to start piling up victories in the post-Wilson era.
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