Geno Smith never doubted that he was capable of playing at an elite level if given the chance, and when the opportunity finally came in 2022, Smith showed the NFL what it had been missing during the seven seasons he spent as a backup quarterback.
While helping lead the Seahawks to the playoffs, Smith led the NFL in completion percentage, set multiple franchise records and was selected to his first Pro Bowl in what was his first season as a starter since 2014. And as a result, Smith is one of three finalists for Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year honors. Also up for the award are Giants running back Saquon Barkley and 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey.
And Smith isn't the only Seahawks player up for postseason awards at this year's NFL Honors, which will take place on Thursday, February 9 and be televised on NBC at 6 p.m. PT. Running back Kenneth Walker III is one of three finalists for AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, while cornerback Tariq Woolen is one of three finalists for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Both players are also up for the Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award, which is decided by a fan vote, and both were named this week to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.
Woolen, whose six interceptions were tied for the most in the NFL, will join Smith at this year's Pro Bowl, making him the first Seahawks defensive player to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie since Lofa Tatupu in 2012. Walker, who took over the starting running back job for an injured Rashaad Penny in October, led NFL rookies with 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. He also led all rookies with five 100-yard rushing games, and had three straight to close the season, making him the first rookie with three consecutive 100-yard games since Barkley did it on his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2018.
Smith, meanwhile, became one of the NFL's best stories in 2022, winning the starting job after seven years as a backup, then going on to exceed just about everyone's expectations other than his own. Smith, who won NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors in October, led the NFL with a franchise-record 69.8 percent completion percentage, and also set franchise records for passing yards (4,282) and completions (399) while becoming the third player in team history, along with Russell Wilson and Dave Krieg, to throw 30 or more touchdown passes in a season. Smith's 30 touchdown passes were the fourth most in the NFL this season, and his 100.9 passer rating ranked fifth in the league.
"It's a great story what he did and what he accomplished," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He played terrific football… We have our guy, we need to, hopefully, work things out so he is with us. There is business to be done there of course, but there is no lid on what we can do. The sky is the limit. That along with returning him with his leadership factor that he had, he's a big deal to us. I just couldn't be more tickled by the way the whole thing turned out and how he handled it. Really, as we look to the future, he is a big part of why we are looking to the future so promisingly."
Take a look back at some of the best photos of the Seahawks offense from the 2022 season.