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Seahawks QB Geno Smith Shoulders Blame Despite Strong Overall Performance

Geno Smith did a lot more things well than he didn’t on Sunday, but was still hard on himself following Seattle’s Week 12 loss to the Raiders.

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The numbers suggest Geno Smith played very well in the Seahawks' Week 12 overtime loss to the Raiders. 

Yes, it wasn't quite enough to win the game, but Smith still completed 27 of 37 attempts for 328 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a 106.6 passer rating, while also picking up a first down with a big 18-yard scramble. 

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also liked a lot out of what he saw from his quarterback, noting a mistake was made on the route that led to Smith's interception, and that, again, overall there was way more good than bad in Smith's performance. 

"We made a mistake on the route, it didn't look right," Carroll said. "He probably shouldn't have thrown the ball at all because we errored downfield in the route… He did a terrific job, again. I thought he threw the ball well, ran well, had a huge scramble for a first down, a huge scramble (throw) to (Travis) Homer for a first down when we were behind the stick. Those were enormous plays for us in the game. He continues to make stuff go. I thought he played very well."

Yet for all that Smith did well, including a gorgeous 35-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett, he was his harshest critic after the game, placing a lot of blame on himself even though there was plenty to spread around on a night when the Seahawks struggle to run the ball while giving up big numbers on defense in an eventual 40-34 Raiders win. 

"When I was in college, a coach told me about the difference between a finger pointer and a thumb pointer; I've always vowed to be a thumb pointer," Smith said. "I'm going to look at myself hard in the mirror, watch this film, see where I can get better and help this team win games."

Smith's thumb pointing included a low pass to DK Metcalf in the fourth quarter that was initially ruled a catch for a first down, then overturned to an incomplete pass—Seattle would punt two plays later, ending a chance at a game-winning drive in regulation. 

"It was close," Smith said. They called it incomplete. That was one play in a game of many plays. I could have gave him a better pass. Like I said, being a thumb pointer, those are the things that I can correct. Nobody's perfect. You can watch across the league, every quarterback is going to make some mistakes. I just got to be better in some aspects and put it all on me. Put it on me. I'll be better."

Smith also accepted the blame for the interception even if Carroll implied it wasn't entirely the quarterback's fault: "Bad pass. Can't happen."

And he also took responsibility for a crucial fumble on a play-fake to Kenneth Walker III, even though Walker said after the game that the fumble was his fault.  

"That's on me," Smith said. "My fault, 100 percent." 

Walker, however, said, "It was a read option, so it was really the running back's responsibility to handle the mesh point. That's how we talk about it, so I'll take the blame for that too. I would say that it was my fault."

Smith shouldering so much of the blame after a loss in which there was plenty to go around speaks well to his leadership qualities, but it also shouldn't be lost that, as he has done so often this season, Smith came through with a big performance, in this case doing so to help keep the Seahawks in the game when the defense was struggling to get stops, and on a day in which the offense was mostly one dimensional as the running game never got on track, save for a couple of impressive Walker touchdown runs. 

And as he has done in other recent games, Smith was particularly good after facing some adversity. In Seattle's Week 9 win over the Cardinals, Smith had arguably his worst play in what has been a Pro-Bowl caliber season, throwing a pick-6 that gave Arizona a third-quarter lead. Smith and the offense responded with three straight touchdown drives to put the game away. In Munich two weeks ago, Smith lost a fumble in the red zone, then bounced by leading two touchdown drives to keep the Seahawks in the game, both of which were capped by great touchdown throws, one to Lockett and one to Marquise Goodwin. And on Sunday, following his second-quarter interception, Smith went 5 for 5 for 70 yards on the next drive, including a 35-yard touchdown to Lockett, and finished the game 20 for 25 for 239 yards, two touchdown and no interceptions in the two-plus quarters that followed the interception. 

Even so, as Smith pointed out, it wasn't enough, so now the focus for the entire team—and not just the quarterback—is how to improve enough to get back on track with a win next week. 

"We didn't execute to the best of our ability," Smith said. "Like I said before, that's one of those situations where late in the game we have an opportunity to go out there and get a win. Obviously, we didn't get it done, so we've got to look at ourselves and figure out what we have to do better. I look forward to that."

Check out some of the best action shots from Week 12 vs. the Las Vegas Raiders at Lumen Field on November 27, 2022. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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