After Geno Smith and the Seahawks offense got off to a hot start in a season-opening win, Seattle then went six quarters without producing a score on offense. But whatever concerns there were over that stretch, Smith and the rest of the offense were quick to put them to bed in Seattle's Week 3 game against the Falcons.
Yes, the Seahawks ultimately lost to the Falcons, but for as much as they came out of the game feeling like they let a good opportunity get away from them, particularly with their play on defense, the Seahawks also saw a lot of good things take place on offense that could bode well for the future.
"Really disappointed that we weren't able to finish that game," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "A good football game that went back and forth. There was a lot of good things that happened in this game. Unfortunately, we didn't finish our last drive. In the league it's right there. That's how it works, the last drive, all so often. We played hard and tough the whole time. They played hard and tough the whole time. It was a good football game.
Carroll went on to cover some of the defensive issues that proved costly, but then added, "Offensive side, we had a lot of plays. We converted on third down. We took care of the ball all the way to the last play. QB was on it. Geno had a really solid football game. Did a great job for us. Receivers came through and did their thing. We ran the ball a little bit like we like to. We like to do it better. There was just a lot of positive things that came out. The last drive wins, and we didn't get it. I didn't see the holding penalty on the big play. We were down on the 9-yard line, whatever. Just everything is going just like it's supposed to, and they saw something on us. But, I think we saw some real bright spots. I thought you saw us get better today, but it wasn't good enough for winning. That's what really counts."
Seattle's offense got going early behind three Rashaad Penny runs for 35 yards, and while that drive stalled out in the red zone, the Seahawks still were able to take a quick 3-0 lead. The Seahawks then added a touchdown on their next possession, and finished the first half with 20 points, 15 first downs and 282 yards, and Smith finished the half 18 for 25 for 218 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, one to Will Dissly and one to DK Metcalf.
"I thought he played really, really well," Carroll said of Smith, who finished the game 32 for 44 for 325 yards. "That's exactly what he has been looking like. That's exactly what I'm telling you. You can see him. He can do things right. He understands what's going on. He is in command of it. He has the arm to throw all of the throws that we're asking him to do. He is really poised about it. That's a heck of a football game today he threw. He is doing his part. There's a couple of plays in there too, like there always is. There's a couple of plays. It was that close of a game today."
Helping pave the way for Seattle to gain a season-high 420 yards was an offensive line that, other than a couple of late-game sacks, kept Smith very clean all afternoon long while also opening holes in the running game.
"I thought they played really well," Carroll said. "It was solid. We had the running game early on that got us started. The play passes were there. Everything was fitting up nice. We had a lot of plays today. We converted really well on third down. We were able to run the ball in the short yardage as well. So, we did a lot of really positive things that those guys are doing. Late we got sacked a couple of times. Geno was just trying to make something happen, and he had to hang on to it a little bit. All in all, those guys did a really good job against these guys."
Said Smith, who was hit only three times prior to the two fourth-quarter sacks, "I feel like the line played a tremendous game. I think they played outstanding all game long. At one point I kept telling myself, 'we have to hit you up in the pocket.' I was just standing back there because I have so much time and great protection. I think they did a great job again, and they're going to continue to get better, but I really was impressed with what they did today."
Coming into this game, Carroll had talked all week about how much trust he had in Smith, and the quarterback backed it up with another strong performance, giving him a 77.5 completion percentage and a 100.8 passer rating through three games.
"I think we have a lot of things to build off, but the main thing is wins and losses," Smith said. "So, there are positives, also some negatives that we have to clean up. We have to get back to work. Just the same as if we would have won this game, we have to get back to work."
And in the end, a strong offensive performance wasn't enough, not on a day when the Falcons were even more explosive on offense, and not on a day when the Seahawks couldn't finish the potential game-winning drive.
So when Carroll was asked about the message he gave to his team after the loss, he responded, "How tough the league is. How tough it is every week and every game. They're so hard, and everything comes down to the end, and you have to finish it up. We just have to keep battling. These games are there for us. We know we're good enough to win these games, so we just have to play to the moment."
The Seahawks take to Lumen Field for their second home game of the 2022 season against the Atlanta Falcons on September 25, 2022.