Geno Smith's 2022 season, his first as a starter since 2014, saw him become a Pro Bowler while breaking multiple franchise records. It was the kind of feel-good story that impressed just about everyone in football aside from Geno Smith.
For Smith, the 2022 season was just a chance to finally show what he was confident he could do all along if given a legitimate chance to compete for a starting job, something that didn't happen over the previous seven seasons.
"I'm just playing ball, doing what I'm supposed to do," Smith said in October. "… I have no issue with anybody at all, but if you are surprised, it's just because you've never seen me throw."
The entire NFL world saw Smith throw in 2022, and he put together a season that saw him lead the NFL in completion percentage (69.8), finish fourth in touchdown passes (30) and fifth in passer rating (100.9), earning his first Pro Bowl selection in a 10-year career.
And for that impressive 2022 season, Smith was named the Pro Football Writers of America's Comeback Player of the Year and the Most Improved Player of the Year.
This is the third time a player has won both awards from the PFWA in the same season, joining Jon Kitna in 2003 and Ryan Tannehill in 2019. The PFWA started giving out a Comeback Player of the Year award in 1992, and Most Improved Player of the Year in 2000. Smith is the first Seahawks player to win either of these awards.
Smith is also a finalist for the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year award, which will be given out at NFL Honors on February 9.
Smith's league-leading completion percentage also set a franchise record, as did his 399 completions, 572 attempts and 4,282 passing yards. On his way to helping the Seahawks to a playoff berth, Smith had a league-high nine games with a 70 percent completion percentage or better, and had 10 games with a passer rating of 100 or better. Smith was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 4, and NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. He also became the third player in franchise history to throw 30 touchdown passes in a season along with Russell Wilson and Dave Krieg.
"He's for real," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle’s playoff loss in Santa Clara. "Geno is the real deal. He can do all of the things that a terrific quarterback does. His movement was probably more of a surprise that he was so efficient with his movement—he could always throw it. His ability to stay poised and calm throughout the season, throughout the year—with all of the hype and the buildup, he could have gone south five different times, and he never did. He never wavered. His leadership really stood out. His voice in the locker room, his voice with our players, he said the right stuff all year, right up to today. It's a great story. It's a great story for a lot of players, in other sports, wherever you want to go, if you keep hanging in there and you believe in yourself, and you don't let the messaging outside of you affect who you are and what you are, you'll find your best. I think Geno has found his best, and he's ready to come back and go again. I thought he had just an unbelievably great season for us."
Take a look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith from the 2022 season.