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Thursday Round-Up: Geno Smith 'Finding Success' After Faster-Paced Offensive Adjustments

Brady Henderson of ESPN’s NFL Nation breaks down why Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is succeeding following some changes on offense.


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Thursday, December 7 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Brady Henderson dissects Geno Smith's Week 13 play against the Dallas Cowboys

Despite falling 41-35 in an action-packed NFC matchup, Smith recorded one of his best games of the 2023 season. In addition to completing 23 of 41 passes for 334 yards and his first three-touchdown game of the season, Smith was not sacked for the first time this year. Injuries have forced Seattle's offensive line to consistently adjust, starting nine different combinations since the start of the season. Dallas currently ranks fifth league-wide in sacks (38), but wasn't able to bring down the Year-10 West Virginia alum, thanks in large part to some key offensive adjustments, first among them, getting the ball out faster. Henderson breaks down Smith's first quarter touchdown to DK Metcalf - a 73-yard score on a play that took just 2.64 seconds from the snap to the throw.

After a false start on third-and-4, every one of the more than 93,000 people inside AT&T Stadium knew Seattle was throwing on third-and-9. Smith took a shotgun snap and glanced to his left, whereDK Metcalfwas running a post route against cornerbackDaRon Bland. Smith briefly shifted his eyes towards the middle of the field, getting safetyDonovan Wilsonto take the bait, then looked back at Metcalf. With defensive endDeMarcus Lawrencescreaming towards him off the left edge, Smith fired a laser to Metcalf for what would be a73-yard touchdown. Metcalf hit 22.23 miles per hour on his way to the end zone, the fastest by a ball carrier in more than three years, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

But the more important measure of speed on that play was 2.64 seconds -- the time between snap and throw. That was a theme for most of the night as Smith put together perhaps his best game of the season against a top-tier Dallas defense. He entered Week 13 with an average time before the pass of 2.91 seconds, which was 24th-fastest in the NFL. Against Dallas, it was 2.54 seconds, which tied for his fastest in any game this season. For context, 2.54 seconds matches the fourth-fastest season-long average of any quarterback this season. The difference was slightly more pronounced on third down, where Smith also averaged 2.91 seconds (18th-fastest) heading into Week 13 but shaved more than a half-second off, getting rid of the ball in 2.38 seconds against Dallas. That timing was among the reasons why the same Seahawks offense that came into the game ranked fourth-worst in third-down rate converted nine of 14 chances (64.3%), easily its best performance of the season. And it came against a defense allowing conversions at the second-lowest rate (34.3%).

Seattle is 3-1 on the year when Smith is sacked less than two times, yet winless (0-3) when Smith has been brought down more than three times in a contest. As Seattle's run game continues to adjust, the Seahawks offense continues to expand in the passing game. Henderson breaks down how the Seahawks screen game has improved drastically through the latter portion of the 2023 season, with a quote from Coach Pete Carroll.

In addition to Smith throwing in rhythm on traditional drop back plays, the Seahawks also got the ball out of his hands quickly via the screen game. That has been inexplicably absent from Seattle's offense for years, but it's more of a factor this season, especially against Dallas. Running backZach Charbonnetgained 39 yards on one screen to set up Seattle's final touchdown. ReceiverJake Bobocaught another for 9 yards but came up just short of converting a third down in the fourth quarter. Seattle has gotten the ball to Smith-Njigba via screens several times in recent weeks.

"We threw the ball on the perimeter well," Carroll said. "The ball got out, and the screens on the edge worked well for us. We had a couple of big plays, couple of nice ball-control plays to Jaxon. He's good at that stuff. We like him in that role, but I thought we moved the ball all over the place and it gave us a chance to keep them guessing a little bit and stay productive. We just needed one more sequence, and we were going to put together a fantastic night."

Seattle faces the San Francisco 49ers on the road in Week 14, and after a solid performance against one of the league's best teams, Smith is trending up at a crucial time.

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