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Geno Smith & Seahawks Offense Show Resilience In Comeback Win Over Browns

After struggling to move the ball for the better part of three quarters, Geno Smith and the Seahawks offense came through when it mattered most.


After nearly three quarters without scoring points, after five punts and two interceptions, after seeing a two-score lead slip away, the Seahawks offense had one last chance to make those struggles a footnote instead of the story of the game.

When a blitzing Jamal Adams deflected a pass with his helmet—"I got that from Messi," he joked after the game—setting up a Julian Love interception, Seattle's offense took the field with 1:57 left in the game, needing a field goal to send it to overtime or a touchdown to win it.

Before the offense took the field, Tyler Lockett, one of Seattle's two captains on offense, gathered the offense together to offer some words of encouragement, with veteran tackle Jason Peters, who was making his Seahawks debut, also stepping up to get the offense ready.

What followed was a quick and efficient drive led by quarterback Geno Smith, who shook off two interceptions and a few other misses to lead the Seahawks down the field for the game-winning score, a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba that gave the Seahawks a 24-20 lead with 38 seconds left in the game.

"Tyler gave us a little bit of a pep talk on the sideline on that last drive," said quarterback Geno Smith. "Jason Peters, he stepped in there. He said something. It was like this is what we practice and prepare for all week, to get these wins and be in those moments. It's a collective effort. It takes a ton of resiliency, a bunch of guys going out there and just fighting to the end and just believing. So that's all it took today, us believing and fighting to the end."

Said Peters, who alternated playing time at right tackle with starter Stone Forsythe, "Tyler just brought us up and told us, even though we're losing, we've just got to stay focused. We've been here before, just finish."

And finish the Seahawks did, looking nothing like the offense that managed only five first downs on its previous seven possessions, and very much like the group that started the game by scoring 17 points on three first-quarter drives.

Smith opened the drive by firing a quick pass to Tyler Lockett for seven yards, then found DK Metcalf for nine more. Next up was a short pass to Noah Fant, which the tight end took 27 yards to get Seattle into the red zone, then, following an incomplete pass to Metcalf in the end zone, Smith threw a quick screen to Smith-Njigba, who thanks to a key block from Metcalf, who also helped spring Fant on his long run, was able to sprint into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

That finishing drive, combined with another strong defensive effort that featured three takeaways and only six second-half points given up, was just the latest example of what has long been one of Pete Carroll's favorite traits in a team.

"Fantastic illustration of hanging in and staying in and keeping the belief going and giving ourselves a chance to win a football game," Carroll said. "Beautiful illustration of that.

"Geno leading that drive, guys keeping him clean up front so we could throw the ball to do what we needed to do to finish the game, guys coming through with catches, the touchdown play to win the game was a fantastic block by DK. Clean. The guy was looking right at him. That's the call they make sometimes. I thought he did it perfectly. Jaxon got every inch out of that play in really championship fashion. A lot of really cool, exciting things that happened today. Fired up about it."

The winning drive capped what was an odd day for Smith and the offense, which looked great early in the game. The Seahawks quickly went 80 yards for a touchdown on their first possession, then used a short field, thanks to a turnover, to get another touchdown when Smith made a spectacular play to avoid the Browns pass rush, then float a perfect pass to Lockett in the back of the end zone. A third strong drive led to a field goal and it looked like the Seahawks were going to have their way with one of the NFL's best defenses, but starting with Seattle's first possession of the second quarter, a three-and-out, it was tough sledding the rest of the day for Smith and the offense. 

"We started well, looked so good starting out, and just couldn't find the rhythm of it," Carroll said. "That's because (the Browns) are really good. And the fact that it's close, no surprise."

But rather than let that rough stretch be their undoing, Smith and the rest of the offense flipped the script with a great final drive.

"That's what we love about it," Carroll said. "The finishing execution that gets you the win, we take great pride in that. We're always talking about and striving to do that. That's why I love this illustration that we can do that. Next time we get a chance we know that we've been there before."

Said Fant, "We had some drives that were three-and-out and things like that. We can't have that, we want to be winning more comfortably towards thee end of the game. But once we get out there, all that's aside and we've got to go drive down on this drive and make it happen. I was super proud of all of our guys to do that."

Peters noted the drive showed Smith's and the offense's resiliency in the way they put all the bad drives behind them.

"We were down, we were up, we were down right there with a little bit of time," he said. "And we just came back and just kept fighting."

Peters was just part of a strong overall effort by Seattle's offensive line, that was going against a very dangerous pass rush, led by All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who came into the game with 7.5 sacks. Garrett did manage one sack late in the game, but it was Cleveland's only sack and one of just three quarterback hits on 38 dropbacks.

"I thought they did great," Carroll said of the line. "I thought they did great today. This is the most vicious rushing team in football today. They have had their way with a ton of teams with their front four. We were able to keep them at bay. I don't know that we dominated anything; we held on and gave up one sack. It was really exciting to see Jason Peters play today. I think he played about half the time. We just wanted to see what would happen, and then we were going to decide as the game went on and he did well, and so just kind of rotated him. That's just another boost for us to have an experienced player like that available to us. So I don't know what that means going forward anyway, but I was really fired up for him. He played in an NFL football game in his 20th season. Man, that's a remarkable accomplishment. So remarkable."

And with the protection holding up all the way to the final drive of the game, Smith and the offense were able to put their earlier struggles behind and lead a game-winning drive that, combined with a 49ers loss to the Bengals, put the Seahawks in first place in the NFC West.

"I have ultimate confidence," Fant said of his mindset going into the final possession. "I think all of us know that we want better in previous drives. Once we get out there, all of that is on the backburner and we have to make the drive we're in now. I think everybody had full belief that we were going to go down and do what we did. That was a good feeling. We weren't thinking about a field goal, we wanted to win the game. It was super cool to see that come to life."

Check out some of the best action shots from Week 8 vs. the Browns at Lumen Field on October 29, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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