Round one of Seattle's quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock is in the books following the Seahawks' preseason opener on Saturday night. By all accounts, the team is scoring it a draw so far.
"As it turned out, for both guys that was a good outing because they had a lot of pressure on them to have to get things done,'' head coach Pete Carroll said after the 32-25 defeat to the Steelers, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. "We're coming from behind and drives to go ahead and all that kind of stuff. I'm anxious to see how it looks when we break it down. But those were the kind of options we were looking forward to see how the guys were doing.''
Smith, the incumbent QB entering his third season with Seattle, started the game and played the entire first half. The eight-year veteran led an offense that was slow out of the gate, but he ended the outing on a high note by conducting an impressive scoring drive with under two minutes to play. Smith completed 3 of 5 passes for 36 yards during the nine-play, 61-yard two-minute drill, and finished it by finding the end zone on a 2-yard scramble.
"I felt great out there," said Smith, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 101 yards with nine rushing yards and the score. "I felt like my decision-making was on point with seeing things well. They had a few good blitzes and things of that nature but I was able to get the ball out of my hands when I needed to.''
The Seahawks trailed Pittsburgh, 17-10, entering halftime, but Smith's contender quickly turned around the team's stammering offense in the second half.
Lock came out the gate hot, connecting with Bo Melton on a 39-yard strike to open a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive and punctuating it with a TD toss to Dareke Young. The newly acquired Seahawks QB got another TD pass after running back DeeJay Dallas brilliantly swerved through defenders two drives later. Lock then tied the game with a toss to Travis Homer for the two-point conversion.
With the game tied 25-25 late in the fourth quarter, there was an opportunity for Lock to certify his debut with a game-winning drive, but that's when the 25-year-old made his biggest mistake of the evening. Sustaining a hit from the Steelers' oncoming pressure, Lock fumbled on the very first play of that would-be drive and the turnover put Pittsburgh on Seattle's 43-yard line. Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett put the game away with a game-winning TD pass.
"I could have handled that better,'' Lock said of the late turnover, "Could have flipped the pro (protection), could have played a hot (read receiver). As a quarterback, you're always able to fix those things and I'll always take it on the chest and I could have been better there.''
Despite a sputtering offense to start and a crucial fumble late in the exhibition, Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was also pleased with both QBs after the preseason opener.
"Both QBs did a good job,'' he said. "Geno, that two-minute drive coming in and then Drew being out the first half and coming out and competing. Both guys did a good job staying in and learning from each scenario that was happening.''
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