The Seahawks came into this game and the 2022 season believing they had what it takes to compete, even if plenty of folks outside of the organization had other ideas, but on Monday night, they backed up what they've been saying all week—that they can compete with anyone.
And in their season debut against the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks used a huge first half from Geno Smith and some great second-half defense to hang on for a thrilling 17-16 victory.
As would be expected, Russell Wilson helped keep Denver in the game with some big plays, and he was attempting a final go-ahead drive, but when that drive stalled out near midfield, the Broncos elected to attempt a 64-yard field goal rather than go for it on fourth down with less than a minute left. That attempt missed, allowing the Seahawks to start the season 1-0 in wild fashion.
Here are six rapid reactions to Monday night's win:
1. "Ge-No! Ge-No! Ge-No!"
Making his first Week 1 start in eight years, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith put on a dazzling show, setting of chants of "Ge-No! Ge-No!" throughout the game, whether it be after one of his two first-half touchdown passes or his hard-nosed 14-yard run, or as he took a knee to run out the clock.
Smith started his day completing 13 straight passes, including long touchdowns to tight ends Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson, and he finished the first half 17 for 18 with two scores for a 141.7 passer rating.
Both Smith and Seattle's defense cooled off a bit in the second half, but his 23 for 28, 195-yard performance was more than good enough on a day when the defense came up huge in the second half.
2. The Seahawks defense gave up some yards, but came up big in the red zone.
The Seahawks will have some issues to address on defense when they look the film on Tuesday, especially when it comes to some of the big plays given up, but one thing that can't be questioned is the effort and determination they played with in goal-line situations.
With Denver driving for a potential go-ahead score early in the third quarter, the Broncos elected to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, and after Melvin Gordon III was met by a wall of Seahawks defenders, safety Quandre Diggs was able to punch the ball loose, with Michael Jackson recovering and returning the ball to the 10-yard line. After the Broncos got the ball back with a short field following a DK Metcalf fumble, they again were knocking on the door, and this time handed it off to Javonte Williams on third-and-goal at the 1. Al Woods helped blow up the play by walking his blocker back to Williams, and after that initial contact Williams tried to get in with a second effort, but Nwosu was able to punch the ball loose, with Jackson again recovering.
While the two goal-line stands were the most dramatic stops, the Seahawks defense, also came up big in the red zone for force short field goals on a couple of occasions, none bigger than in the fourth quarter when Denver was driving for a potential go-ahead score and got as far as the 3-yard line before Seattle's defense got the stop, a series that helped decide the game.
3. Uchenna Nwosu had quite the Seahawks debut.
The Seahawks made Uchenna Nwosu one of their first additions in free agency this offseason, and the former Chargers outside linebacker got off to a strong start with his new team.
Nwosu got his big day started by chasing down Wilson for a sack, and from that point on he was disruptive all night. Nwosu recorded seven tackles, a pass defense, and most notably, a forced fumble at the goal line to prevent a potential touchdown and give the Seahawks a turnover. One of Nwosu's best plays of the night didn't count because of a delay of game penalty, but before the play could be blown dead, he shot into the backfield for a would-be tackle for loss on a running play.
4. Special teams stepped up.
The Seahawks struggled at times on special teams in the preseason, particularly in kick and punt coverage, but with their top special teams players all on the field—something that wasn't usually the case in the preseason—the Seahawks were what they have been the past two seasons on special teams: really solid.
Tanner Muse, a practice squad call-up, had two tackle on kick coverage to pin the Broncos inside the 25, while DeeJay Dallas added a big hit on kick coverage as well as two kick returns of 30 yards. Travis Homer had a great play on punt coverage, and kicker Jason Myers was good from 49 yards on his only field goal attempt and made both extra points. Also noteworthy for not standing out was long snapper Carson Tinker, who was signed to the practice squad earlier in the week to take over for an injured Tyler Ott.
5. The 12s brought the noise.
With the Seahawks kicking off a new season, and with Wilson and returning to Seattle with is new team, Lumen Field was absolutely rocking throughout the night. The fans had the press box shaking at one point after Nwosu's forced fumble in the third quarter, and also contributed to three false starts and a pair of delay of game penalties.
6. The Legends were out in force.
With the Seahawks kicking off a new season, and with recently-retired Seahawks Legend K.J. Wright raising the 12 Flag, several high-profile Seahawks Legends were in the house to support their former team and former teammate.
Long before kickoff, Marshawn Lynch was on the field holding court, greeting players from both teams, enjoying an on-field snack as only he can, and having a general good time. Also in attendance were Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin and Cliff Avril, among others.
The Seahawks host the Broncos for Monday Night Football at Lumen Field on September 12, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.