SANTA CLARA, Calif.—After about the worst possible start for the Seahawks—a two-play 49ers touchdown drive on their first possession of the game—Drew Lock took the field with Seattle's offense to make his first start since joining the team last year.
And in his first start since he was in Denver two seasons ago, facing one of the NFL's best defenses on the road, Lock calmly led Seattle's offense down the field, completing five of six passes, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, allowing the Seahawks to match the 49ers opening score.
Ultimately the 49ers were able to pull away for a 28-16 victory that was keyed by big plays by their offense, but Lock made plenty of big throws of his own to keep the Seahawks in the game, and he showed his coaches and teammates that he could play well given an opportunity.
"I thought he did a great job, right from the beginning," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "The opening drive was beautiful. That's a really good sign for Drew. It wasn't too big for him in any way. He wasn't too nervous, he wasn't jittery at all, he came right down the field and threw a great ball to DK to get us in the end zone. Throughout, his calm on the sidelines, his ability to communicate what was going on, how to adjust, the things that were coming up in the next sequence, the next series, he was on it, he was a real pro about it. He did a really good job."
Said Tyler Lockett, who led the Seahawks with six catches for 89 yards, "I thought Drew played great, man. He put us in a chance to be able to win, first drive, went down and scored, real bigtime for us. I think he did everything the coaches wanted him to do and more. I'm super proud of him for being able to come through, getting this opportunity and playing at a high level."
Lock completed 22 of 31 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice, once on a deep shot to Metcalf down the left sideline that he said he left too far inside, allowing a safety to make a play on it, and once late in the game when 49ers defensive end Chase Young hit Lock's arm as he tried to launch a deep pass to Metcalf on fourth-and-long.
And while Lock would have loved to have had those turnovers back and to have led Seattle to a win, he was still able to enjoy the experience of starting his first game in two seasons.
"Obviously the turnovers, we can't have them," he said. "I left that ball inside on the long ball to DK, put that to the sideline, let him run underneath it, it could be a big play for us. The last one, it is what it is. But I thought I used my legs well, got the ball to a lot of different guys today, spread it around, made the big plays when they were there, stayed confident, stayed calm. Nothing threw me off the rocker today. Man, it was a blast being out there again. I'm trying to balance the feeling of, man, I finally played again, how good that feels to go out and play, but also not getting it done. It's interesting, but I did have fun with those guys out there. I thought they came out and played their butts off, the O-line did a great job tonight, the guys got the ball in their hands and made plays."
Lock got a second touchdown in the third quarter, a 25-yarder to tight end Colby Parkinson, who like the rest of his teammates, was not surprised Lock came through with a strong outing.
"I have nothing but confidence in Drew," Parkinson said. "He didn't miss a beat at all, and I'm proud of what he did out there."
Added Metcalf, "He's an NFL quarterback, and he deserves some respect by now."
The Seahawks don't yet know if Smith will be back for next week's game against the Eagles—Carroll said that decision may go all the way to gameday—but if Lock does start for the second week in a row, both he and his team will be confident after what they saw on Sunday.
When Lock was asked what Sunday's game showed him, it was an outing against a tough defense that showed "that I can still play football. I can still go out there and do it. It had been a long time since I've started a game. I'm confident in my legs, confident in the deep ball, confident in just dropping back and living in the pocket. It's just, confident that I am an NFL quarterback. I can take that away and take that into the next week, when and if I do get the chance."
The 12s made the trip to Santa Clara, California for the Week 14 division showdown versus the 49ers at Levi's Stadium.