Skip to main content

Seahawks QB Geno Smith takes turn authoring game-winning drive: 'I'm thinking just like last week'

The Seahawks followed a similar script as their Week 15 win over the Eagles on Sunday against the Titans -- only this time with a different protagonist under center.

Although Geno Smith found himself slowed by Tennessee's defense upon his return to Seattle's starting lineup following a two-week absence, he rallied when it mattered most, leading a 14-play, 75-yard drive in the game's final three minutes and change to overcome the Titans, 20-17.

"He's in such a good place," head coach Pete Carroll said about Smith following the victory, per the team's website. "He believes so strongly that it's going to happen, and it's going to get done and his guys are going to come through for him. And that belief it transfers, translates to other guys, they feel him. So they go through and do what they're supposed to do, and it comes out well. He's having an enormous impact on these guys just because his mentality is so strong and so consistent."

Smith looked fully recovered from his recent groin injury throughout a tight contest, but he didn't truly get going until the fourth quarter.

He went 13 of 21 for 104 yards through his first five drives, which resulted in three punts and a pair of field goals after the offense twice stalled within 10 yards of pay dirt.

But facing a 10-6 deficit and a long field nearing the final frame, Smith flipped a switch. He started off his sixth possession of the day with a 20-yard pass to one of last week's heroes, rookie wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba, then hit Tyler Lockett for 21 more yards to close out the third quarter.

A few more short handoffs and two completions to DK Metcalf -- the second of which showed beautiful concentration by the wideout to drag his toes following a bobble -- had the Seahawks in the end zone and in the lead for the first time thanks to a 96-yard odyssey.

The Titans would respond with a clock-draining 8:49 drive that was capped off by a Derrick Henry touchdown run to match his earlier TD throw, putting the Seahawks again in danger of dropping a game they couldn't afford with a tightening playoff race for the NFC's final two wild-card spots.

Smith went back to work with 3:21 remaining in the game and, outside of a few run plays, connected with Smith-Njigba and Lockett almost exclusively to march to Tennessee's 5-yard line. There, on third-and-goal and trailing by four, the QB found tight end Colby Parkinson for another score.

Just as it did last week, the defense snuffed out the Titans' last-ditch drive to seal the win. And also just like last week, when Drew Lock added 92 yards passing on a game-winning drive over Philadelphia to his previous total of 116, Smith had turned a mediocre day into a heroic one when Seattle so desperately needed it.

The 33-year-old threw for 123 yards and two scores, with a 140.4 passer rating on 12-of-15 passing over his final two drives, more than doubling his yardage to help lighting strike twice for Seattle -- even down to the identical 20-17 outcomes.

"I'm thinking just like last week," Smith said, describing his mindset going into his final possession. "I feel like Drew did a great job last week and we had a chance to match it this week. As I'm going out there, I'm not thinking about anything else besides the situation, knowing we got four downs. I think we had two or three timeouts left. So, we had a bunch of time, about three minutes. I was thinking about the situation and how we can get in the end zone. I thought Shane (Waldron) did a great job. I thought protection held up great. Obviously, receivers did a great job of getting open, and Colby made a heck of a catch to seal the deal right there."

Sunday's performance marked Smith's fourth game-winning drive of 2023, tied for most in the league, per NFL Research.

His gutsy play, as well as the fact that his team so often needs it, is emblematic of the Seahawks as a whole with two games remaining.

Seattle is a resilient if imperfect bunch, which has now flipped two consecutive possible losses into down-to-the-wire wins. A lesser team might have folded in those contests considering the Seahawks entered Week 15 in the throes of a four-game skid.

Instead, they're now 8-7, positioned as the No. 7 seed with a 69% chance to make the postseason, per Next Gen Stats.

"It was an exciting win for us," Carroll said. "The belief in this locker room is strong, that we can take on whatever we've got to take on. We'll have our wits together and we'll execute and function no matter how long it takes to get it. That's a powerful, powerful trait."

Related Content