Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith has survived in the NFL since entering via round two of the 2013 draft. On Thursday night, he got a chance to do something he rarely has done in recent years — take snaps of significance in a regular-season game.
“I played behind three of the most durable quarterbacks in NFL history with Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Russell Wilson,” Smith told reporters after replacing Wilson, who injured the middle finger on his throwing hand and couldn’t continue. “So it’s been a long time coming, but no way am I satisfied with just going out there and playing. It’s about getting wins and it’s about leading the team to victories. I like to think that I’ll be able to do that.”
He almost did it against the Rams. He came off the bench to lead Seattle on a 98-yard touchdown drive, and he had a chance to engineer an 84-yard game-winning drive with 2:09 to play. Unfortunately, receiver Tyler Lockett fell (possibly pushed, possibly not), and a throw meant for Lockett was intercepted.
Smith did enough on the night to get the home crowd to chant his name, repeatedly. What did he think about that?
“It would have been a lot better if we got a win, but it meant a lot, the city has embraced me,” Smith said. “This team has embraced me, and I’m really grateful for that. I appreciate all the fans. The atmosphere was just electric tonight. I mean, you could see it out there. Everyone was fired up. I really thought we had a chance. Thought we were going to come back and get it done; unfortunately we didn’t. But we’ll bounce back and get better.”
Smith’s last start came in 2017, during the ill-fated temporary benching of Eli Manning. Smith could get his next start in nine days, if Wilson’s injured finger prevents him from playing in Pittsburgh, just about 80 miles from where Smith became a star at West Virginia University.