SEATTLE – As Pete Carroll sent Geno Smith and the Seattle offense onto the field with 52 seconds left in a tie game Sunday, the coach sent a message to his quarterback: Overtime was OK.
Smith understood Carroll’s intent.
“I think that was Coach’s way of reminding me not to do nothing crazy with the football right there,” Smith said.
But Smith understood as well as anyone that this was a game that needed to end sooner rather than later.
The pesky Commanders had simply hung around all game, with Seattle never leading until more than 35 minutes had been played and Washington twice going on long drives to force ties in the final eight minutes.
“When we’re in that situation, we’re right at home,” Smith said. “… We knew exactly how much time we had, how many timeouts. Just about everything that we needed to do, we knew what to do.”
And finally, at the end of a day when too often they seemed to struggle just a bit too much, the Seahawks did indeed look right at home.
After Washington tied the game with 52 seconds left, Smith led Seattle from its own 25 to the Commanders 25 – completing 4 of 6 passes for all 50 yards – to set up a game-winning 43-yard field goal by Jason Myers as time ran out to give the Seahawks a 29-26 win.
The victory improved the Seahawks’ record to 6-3 and kept them tied for the lead in the NFC West with the 49ers.
It also again proved Seattle’s ability to bounce back in the wake of disaster, the Seahawks shaking off last Sunday’s 37-3 loss at Baltimore to get a much-needed win, just as they pulled out an overtime victory at Detroit in Week 2 after the season-opening face -plant against the Rams.
“Couldn’t walk out of here without a dub (win),” said safety Jamal Adams. “It was very important.”
It also was a win that too often felt like pulling teeth.
Or as Carroll said: “It was a tough game the whole game.”
The Seahawks gave up a touchdown on the first drive of the game on a somewhat fluky 51-yard pass from Sam Howell to running back Brian Robinson. They gave up another field goal in the third quarter following a long gain on a similar play.
And while Seattle began to assert some physical dominance as the first half went on – outgaining Washington 158-29 in the second quarter – the game was tied at 9 at halftime.
That was due mostly to Seattle going just 3 of 8 on third downs and twice seeing penalties kill potential fourth-down attempts. The Seahawks were forced to settle for field goals on three drives that got to the 26 or closer.
At times in the early going, there even appeared to be a few boos thrown Smith’s way.
Smith insisted neither he nor the team ever wavered in their belief.
“I felt like we moved the ball up and down the field and just weren’t able to finish in the red zone,” Smith said, “That’s something we talk about always, just trying to finish in the red zone. We knew that we’d get those opportunities again in the second half, and we all collectively said we’re going to finish.”
The Seahawks finally got the play that seemed might break the game open when Smith evaded pressure and dumped the ball off to Kenneth Walker III, who took it 64 yards for a TD to make it 16-12 with 9:43 left in the third quarter – the first time Seattle led all game.
“We needed something big to happen to have some fun and feel it,” Carroll said. “He came through in a great way.”
Another Myers field goal a little later made it 19-12, and it was tempting to think that after the first-half frustration, Seattle might end up with a breather of a win.
Instead, a defense that held Washington to 109 yards in the second and third quarters – 48 coming on one of the Howell-to-Robinson passes – suddenly faltered.
Howell led a quick 73-yard drive that tied the game at 19 with eight minutes left.
Smith hit 5 of 5 passes to move Seattle 75 yards in 10 plays – the last 5 yards coming on a pass to Tyler Lockett – to put Seattle ahead 26-19 with 3:47 left. The drive was aided by a pass-interference penalty on Washington’s Benjamin St-Juste on DK Metcalf on a fourth down.
Howell led Washington quickly back down the field, throwing a 35-yard TD to Dyami Brown on a third-and-10 play, the ball just barely getting over the hands of Seattle’s Jordyn Brooks and Devon Witherspoon.
“I don’t think it was anything they did new, or anything like that,” Wagner said of Washington’s two fourth-quarter drives. “I think it’s just us needing to be disciplined and make sure we make the plays we need to make.”
Once again, no matter.
And while Carroll’s message to Smith not to do anything rash was fresh in his head – with the nine turnovers Seattle had the previous four games, eight by Smith, undoubtedly also on each of their minds – Smith said he recalled Carroll’s talk to the team on Saturday night.
“Coach Carroll did a great job last night talking to the team,” Smith said. “He talked about quieting the voice in the head, quieting the mind. For me and maybe some other players, I feel like I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. I’m pushing myself to be the best I can be, and sometimes that gets to me. But coach did a great job of making sure that I was levelheaded and had a clear mind, and that allowed me to go out there and play the game I play.”
Smith unquestionably did that on the final drive, completing 4 of 6 passes (one of the incompletions being a spike), including a 27-yarder to Metcalf that took it to the Washington 25 with three seconds left.
“Just playing football,” Smith said. “Going out there and finishing the game.”
After a Washington timeout to freeze him, Myers hit from 43 yards, and the Seahawks escaped with a win. They gained a season-high 489 yards and Smith threw for a career-high 369 on a day when he reinforced the belief Carroll and his teammates have in him, even if at times some of the Lumen Field fans appeared to have lost some faith.
“I didn’t hear any boos,” Metcalf insisted. “I’m not paying attention to any of that. I know Geno Smith is a great quarterback and he’s led us to a lot of victories, even last year, this year, two years ago. I just continue to believe in him.”
It was a win that also reinforced their own belief in their collective selves, as well, after the tough day a week ago in Baltimore.
“I think it was big, man,” said Lockett. “We had some tough times during the game, but we kept fighting. We found a way.”