Geno Smith hears chants, relishes Seahawks opening victory

Hearing his name as he left the field victorious for the Seattle Seahawks was no endorsement for Geno Smith.

SEATTLE (AP) — Hearing his name as he left the field as the winner for the Seattle Seahawks was no endorsement for Geno Smith.

It was gratifying to have the opportunity again eight years after he was last a starting quarterback in the opening weekend of the NFL season.

“As far as worrying about naysayers, that kind of thing, I don’t deal with that sort of thing,” Smith said. “People can write you off but life is about what you make of it and that’s why I’m just blessed enough to have been in the NFL 10 years and work my butt off and it’s a team game and we have to win tonight as a team.”

With the most attention on Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle on the other side of the field, it was Smith and the Seahawks who celebrated a 17-16 win Monday night.

Wilson had the more memorable evening, from the boos raining down on him from Seattle fans to Denver’s decision not to go for fourth and fifth and instead attempt a 64-yard field goal in the closing seconds.

But it was Smith who was afterwards in the celebratory dressing room that Wilson called home for a decade.

“He’s had it all his time. He just didn’t have the perfect opportunity for him to go out there and show what he’s really capable of when he’s in full control of a football team or offense,” Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf said.

Smith was spectacular in the first half and perhaps more of what was expected in the second half when Seattle was shut out. He finished 23 of 28 for 195 yards but was 17 of 18 for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.

Smith threw a 38-yard touchdown to Will Dissly on Seattle’s first possession of the season. He added a 25-yard jab to Colby Parkinson in the second quarter that gave Seattle a 17-7 lead at that point. He jogged off the field at halftime, shouting “Geno, Geno”.

This large half proved adequate, but barely.

“He was so balanced and so calm in that game. He was just fun to play with,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “And we talk as the game goes on, he’s having fun and laughing and enjoying it. The moment came to him and he was ready for it.”

Smith’s second season in the NFL in 2014 was the last time he started on the season’s opening weekend. It was the first time since 1971 that there was such a large time gap for a quarterback between opening week starts.

Smith seemed to enjoy his opportunity. He played fearlessly, and the Seattle crowd—already ecstatic about Wilson’s return—roared their approval. When Smith dropped his shoulder rather than slide on a 14-yard scramble late in the third quarter, Seahawks fans followed with more chanting of his name.

For everything Smith got right, Seattle’s offense was inefficient in the second half. The Seahawks had just 34 total yards and five first downs after halftime. Seattle had less than 10 minutes of possession in the third and fourth quarters.

It made for some nervous final moments for Smith as he watched Denver try to collect himself. It created flashbacks to the last three seasons of serving as Wilson’s backup and watching him lead the Seahawks in games and practice in those late-game situations on the field.

“For so long I’ve watched Russ go down and win those games,” Smith said. “It was a surreal moment to see him on the other side against our defense going for one of his old comeback wins and we got up tonight and I was happy about that.” Geno Smith hears chants, relishes Seahawks opening victory

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