It was simply one game, but the Seahawks are well on their way to proving people wrong.
While Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett’s final play call will linger over the win, Geno Smith and the Seattle defense did enough across the board to justify some apologies from their detractors.
And that’s what they got on Tuesday from the pundits who compile NFL power rankings across the interwebs. Without further ado, here’s where national media rank the Seahawks after their win over Russell Wilson and the Broncos.
NFL.com: No. 18
Geno Smith was clearly the undercard on Monday Night Football, a contest hyped up as Russell Wilson’s Broncos debut and grudge match against Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. But it was the journeyman QB out of West Virginia who got the postgame-interview treatment after mind-boggling clock management by Wilson and new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett helped secure a 17-16 Seattle win. Geno went 23-of-28 passing for 195 yards and two touchdowns — nearly all of the production coming in the first half — and avoided the crushing turnovers that have haunted him in the past, as the Seattle defense repeatedly turned away the Denver attack from in close. All and all, a fun night at Lumen Field, especially for the other QB. Said Geno after the game: “They wrote me off. I ain’t write back, though.”
The Ringer: No. 24
I’m an idiot. I recently predicted on The Ringer NFL Show that I was initially too low on the Seahawks, and here we are. Geno Smith, an improved offensive line, a well-coached defense, a spry Rashaad Penny, Pete Carroll, you name it—they all exceeded preseason expectations. Only two teams (Falcons and Texans) had lower odds to have the worst record in the NFL than the Seahawks before upsetting the Broncos as 6.5-point home dogs in Week 1. I’m still not buying them to make the playoffs, but they’re far from the league’s doormat.
CBS Sports: No. 26
They came up big when they had to against Denver with their goal-line defense. The offense moved the ball, but needs to score more.
USA TODAY: No. 22
Civically, Seattle had a surprising amount of bile for Russ. Between the lines, Pete Carroll’s squad got a surprisingly efficient performance from Wilson’s successor, Geno Smith, and some massive clutch plays from a largely no-name defense.
Pro Football Talk: No. 22
Pete Carroll got an early birthday present in the form of big slice of vindication.
The Athletic: No. 12
By EPA per dropback, Geno Smith’s performance ranked 12th among all quarterbacks, ahead of players such as Jackson, Carr, Brady, Joe Burrow and Aaron Rodgers. Mostly dinking and dunking, Smith completed 82.1% of his passes, the second-highest mark in Week 1, while throwing for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Seahawks offense, with a feisty Rashaad Penny having a couple of longer runs called back by penalties, looked downright functional while the defense swarmed behind a raucous crowd. Fun stuff in Seattle on Monday night, and now Pete Carroll can chew gum in peace.
Bleacher Report: No. 27
We owe the Seattle Seahawks an apology. Downing the Denver Broncos at home doesn’t make Seattle a good football team. This was a game the Broncos tried to lose as much as the Seahawks tried to win, whether it was the dozen penalties or a level of red-zone bumbling that would make the Keystone Cops blush. But to Seattle’s credit, it did what Denver could not: avoid mistakes. Geno Smith didn’t turn the ball over, threw two touchdown passes and posted a passer rating of 119.5. The Seahawks overcame the loss of safety Jamal Adams to a knee injury, and with the exception of a 67-yard touchdown catch by Jerry Jeudy, avoided giving up big plays. This isn’t a win that’s going to propel the Seahawks into the playoffs. Seattle still has as many questions as answers. Guiding this team to a winning record would be the best coaching job of Pete Carroll’s career. But for one week at least, the undefeated Seahawks are all by their lonesome in first place in the NFC West. Seattle may not be such an easy out after all.