When Drew Lock took a snap from Evan Brown on Seattle's first offensive possession Thursday night, it was the first time he had experienced game action in a Seahawks uniform.
Yes, Lock is beginning his second season in Seattle, but last year he missed his team's one home preseason game, one he was scheduled to start, after coming down with COVID-19. Geno Smith ended up winning the starting job, and not only did he start every game, he was the only quarterback in the NFL to play every one of his team's offensive snaps.
That was great news for the Seahawks, who went to the playoffs in no small part to Smith's play, which earned him Pro-Bowl and AP Comeback Player of the Year honors, but Smith's combination of standout play and good health meant Lock, who came to Seattle as a candidate for the starting job, never got on the field during the regular season.
So when Pete Carroll said after Thursday's 24-13 win over the Vikings, "Tonight was nothing but fun, we had a great time," he was talking about the entire time, but he could have easily been talking specifically about Lock, who started the game and played the first three quarters with Smith and most of the rest of the starters getting the night off.
"First game here as a Seahawk in my career," Lock said. "I've never walked out there in a Seahawks uniform and played a snap. I had a blast. The 12s were definitely in effect.
"Overall it just felt great. To be playing football again, gosh… It's weird when you go a whole year without taking a snap. Props to G for doing that last year and rallying this team and getting us to the playoffs, but man it felt good to finally be back out there."
Lock didn't just have fun because he saw significant playing time, he also was enjoying himself because he played well, completing 17 of 24 passes for 191 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 104.7 passer rating.
"I thought Drew did really well tonight," Carroll said. "I believe the ball got tipped on the pick. He had the right choice, he was reading the right guy and all that; the ball just got tipped at the line of scrimmage. Other than that, he was in command and had a nice night."
Carroll said the decision to let Lock play well into the second half before turning the keys over to rookie Holton Ahlers was because they want Lock to get enough game reps to be ready should he ever be called upon in the regular season.
"I want him to be ready to start games," Carroll said. "I want him to be ready to play football games and win championship games for us. He needs to play to do that—he sat around all last year, so this formula of him getting three quarters, that's just great for him to be out there playing football. So he's going to play a lot."
For Lock, the extended playing time was, "Extremely valuable," he said. "It's the first time in my career without taking a snap in a season. It was interesting going back out there feeling the flow of a game again, being the one in charge. We do a great job in practice trying to simulate a game, but nothing compares to when you really step out there, moving the ball, trying to put points up. I'll take every rep I can get. It was really, really fun tonight."
Lock, who threw touchdown passes to Easop Winston Jr. and rookie Jake Bobo, both of which featured excellent accuracy and timing, returned to Seattle as a free agent despite knowing the starting job was now Smith's. And while Lock still has the desire to be a starter in the NFL again, he felt the right move this offseason was to return to a place where he felt comfortable and felt he had the chance to be part of something special.
"A plethora of reasons," Lock said when asked why he re-signed with Seattle. "One, Coach Carroll has been fantastic to me since I've been here. The way he runs his program, this organization, it's fun. You want to come to work, you want to get better, you want to be there with your brothers in the locker room. An environment like that, I just don't think every place has it, and this place is special to me. Shane Waldron has done a fantastic job in my eyes, watching it last season with the way he called plays for G. The system that we run, I feel comfortable in it. It's just a really great place. It's a really great place. I believe in the guys on this team. I believe in our defense, I believe in our offense, I believe when we put both sides of the ball, and special teams in there, this can be a really, really good team, and I want to be a part of special, and this place is.
"I'm never disappointed when the Seahawks are winning games and Geno is staying healthy, but man, the want and the desire to get out there on that field, it was very apparent to me standing on the sideline last year. But that's not my job, I'm second string here, and my job is to help G get to where he wants to be and help this team get to where it wants to be, and that's my goal and that's what I'm going to do this year for this team."
Check out some of the best action shots from Preseason Week 1 vs. the Minnesota Vikings at Lumen Field on August 10, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery. This album will be updated throughout the game.