Underappreciated Geno Smith, Seahawks keep winning ways going


GLENDALE, Ariz. – Wearing a black hoodie over his cropped hair, Tyler Lockett looked a little upset when asked if his team still wasn’t getting enough respect nationally after its fourth straight win.

But as the Seattle Seahawks stack wins, the speedy wide receiver knows that national observers will have to give love to this rising team grudgingly.

“At this point, we don’t really care about the doubters anymore,” the 30-year veteran receiver said. “We already knew what we could do and achieve as a team. So we’re just going to keep going with that trend, we’re going to keep celebrating. We’ve got a great team. We’ve got great coaches. We’ve got everything we need here.

“The biggest thing is you get caught up in what the outside world says, you get too comfortable. And we’re just going to keep coming out and getting better. And if people want to talk about us, that’s fine. But at the end of the day, we remember what they said earlier this season.”

At the head of the line of players who received slander earlier this year was Seattle quarterback Geno Smith. However, Russell Wilson’s replacement is playing better than the quarterback traded for a bunch of picks and players this offseason.

The Seahawks aren’t winning in spite of Smith, but because of him.

That simple truth was highlighted in this team’s 31-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.

Adam Amin and Daryl Johnston snap the Seahawks’ hitting streak after the win over the Cardinals

Adam Amin and Daryl Johnston snap the Seahawks' hitting streak after the win over the Cardinals

FOX commentators Adam Amin and Daryl Johnston break down the Seattle Seahawks’ 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Case in point: Smith threw a terrible interception intended for running back Ken Walker III that Cardinals linebacker Zaven Collins tipped over himself and returned 30 yards for a score, putting Arizona up 14-10 with 9:26 left. of the third quarter.

Smith could have put his head down and got angry after that momentum-sucking play. But instead, he owned up to the mistake, telling his team “My bad” on the sidelines. And then Smith used his arm and legs to lead Seattle on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that gave them the lead for good, 17-14, after a 9-yard touchdown toss to Lockett.

Smith’s ability to fight through adversity has become a calling card for the entire team. He finished 24 of 36 for 275 yards with two touchdown passes and the interception. Smith also ran for another 38 yards.

“I’m confident in myself,” Smith said of the interception. “I know what I can do. I’m playing in the NFL. This is the highest level. There are players out there who will make big plays. Sometimes the ball won’t bounce to you, but you can’t be fazed by it. And after all I’ve been through, things like this won’t faze me.”

Not only is Smith unfazed by these mistakes, but neither are his teammates.

“We all have an underdog story,” Seattle safety Ryan Neal said. “So when you come out and see Geno do something like that, it shows the theme of this team, the heartbeat of this team. It’s us against the world.”

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray struggles, loses cool in loss to Seahawks

Cardinals' Kyler Murray struggles, loses cool in loss to Seahawks

Kyler Murray had a heated exchange with DeAndre Hopkins during the first half.

Smith was also lucky. Twice, the Cardinals failed to corral interceptions backed up in their own territory that would have thwarted Seattle scoring. And on the next play, Smith made them pay with touchdowns to DK Metcalf and Lockett.

Smith led the Seahawks on three long touchdown drives as Seattle took control of the game in the second half. The Seahawks finished 10-for-15 on third down, at one point converting seven straight third-down opportunities.

Seattle then used Walker to close the game. The hard-charging running back refused to be tackled in the later stages, adding 62 of his game-high 109 yards in the fourth quarter. Walker also posted two scores.

Since taking over for the injured Rashaad Penny in Week 6, Walker is No. 3 in the NFL in rushing yards (424) and first in touchdowns (6).

“It’s kind of textbook what we want our identity to be,” Seahawks rookie right tackle Abe Lucas said. “We want to be a big finisher. Our position coach (offensive line coach) Andy Dickerson preaches that. It’s not always going to be pretty, but he said the ugly tension — how hard are you willing to go to get the job done. , do you know what i mean

“At the end of the day, you can have really poor technique, but if you’re doing the job, that’s what matters.”

That’s pretty much the Seahawks in a nutshell. The Seahawks lead the NFC West with a 6-3 record, and they’re doing so with a head coach of the identity and culture Pete Carroll created when he first took over a decade ago: play good defense , get the ball, run the football, and have an efficient and resilient person like Smith.

“You can see it,” Carroll said. “There’s no denying it. You can see we’re capable of playing good ball, and I want them to know that. I want them to see that, and I’m not afraid to talk about it, and show them what they’re capable of doing, so they’re resetting our expectations.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.


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