Seattle Seahawks – Geno Smith Taking Flight On A Historic Statistical Pace

By the time January rolls around, Geno Smith may have the best season by a QB in Seattle history. Will this season be more important than 2005, 2013, or 2014? Probably not, but what the team does in the postseason is not what makes a great regular season QB, especially when discussing franchise records. 

Geno has 1,305 passing yards along with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions through five games – with a league-leading completion percentage of 75.2%. That puts him on pace for 4,437 yards, 31 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. 

Russell Wilson has the team record for passing yards set in 2016 with 4,219. Wilson also holds the record for passing touchdowns (40) and completion percentage (68.8%), setting both marks in 2020. Wilson is tied for the lowest amount of interceptions in a season with seven. There are only three players listed on the top-10 seasons by a Seattle QB, and Wilson has seven of them, so no matter what Geno does this year, he isn’t exactly going to erase the fans’ memories of Wilson and his decade of dominance. 

Even if Geno only gets the passing yards mark, that would be a tremendous accomplishment for the 9th year pro, considering he entered the season fighting for his job and hasn’t been the opening-day starter since his second season in the league in 2014. Geno has a passer rating of 113.2, which is also the current best mark in the NFL. Wilson’s career-best over an entire season is 110.9 from 2018, which is tied with Daunte Culpepper’s 2004 season as 22nd best in league history. If Geno can keep his current rating, he would be tied with Tony Romo’s 2014 season as 13th best in NFL history. 

According to Next Gen Stats, Geno is averaging 2.86 seconds (8th most) per play to make a throw and is ranked 30th in aggressiveness. That means he has enough time to think about where he wants to place the ball and makes a high-percentage throw without forcing it into coverage. How often did we ask why Russ was holding the ball too long, scrambling backward, and then taking a sack or chucking the ball into coverage when he had guys running open? 

Geno is taking what the defense gives him, which Russ was great at early in his career and has slipped away from recently. 

You might be thinking that Geno is simply passing to open players due to Seattle facing a lot of loaded boxes (when the defense rushes four linemen and three linebackers and blitzes at least one cornerback or safety) and checking out of the run to take advantage of single coverage on guys like DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Well, that’s possible, but that would mean the running backs are still facing stacked boxes most of the time – right? And while Seattle has been seeing loaded boxes about 28% of the time, that means they are running into standard run coverage (with at least four defenders in pass coverage) the other 72% of the time. And if Geno is getting more time to throw than 24 other starters, he can’t be facing loaded boxes all of the time either; loaded boxes typically mean at least one, if not two, defenders blitzing. 

Teams are being more conservative against him than most of us are assuming, and they are likely doing so knowing that Geno isn’t afraid to put the ball in the air and that his playmakers will do something with it. 

In addition to chasing franchise marks, Geno is just simply doing it better and more efficiently than most of his peers. In addition to his top marks in completion percentage and passer rating, Geno is third in yards per attempt, 12th in yards, 8th in touchdowns, has the 14th most plays going at least 20 yards, and has thrown the 14th fewest interceptions. Geno’s efforts have turned Seattle back into a top-15 offense, which is well above the expectations going into the season. Geno has been sacked fewer than 19 other starting QBs, putting him in the top 15 of best-protected QBs, a benefit we know Russ wasn’t getting during his last few years here. The passing offense is 9th in scoring, 8th in fewest turnovers, and 14th in big plays over 20 yards. As a group, they are finding the end zone as much as the elite teams, taking care of the ball, and still seeing plenty of explosive plays. That’s an elite offense, making Geno an elite QB – through five games, at least.

Geno is chasing Wilson’s ghost just months after Russ departed for Denver, but he’s also trying to make a name for himself in a contract year – perhaps his last chance at a major deal and the chance to be a legit starter again. If he finishes the season strong, Seattle will have no choice but to offer him a competitive deal and try to bring him back next season, which goes against the grain of the rebuild they are in, but they can’t let him walk for anything either. If he continues to prove himself and makes a run at Russ’ best single-season numbers, Seattle would be foolish to let him leave. He began the season as just a guy on the roster trying to keep fans from being embarrassed, and now he has the Seattle faithful feeling something they haven’t had in a couple of years – that funny feeling of excitement when your team is on the field. 

And more than that, this team and its fans have confidence that Geno can score every time he has the ball. Fans asked to let Russ cook, but now they’re asking to see Geno whip up something great, and while it may not always look like what you expected, we know he can deliver. 

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About Casey Mabbott 231 Articles
Casey Mabbott is a writer and podcast host born and raised in West Philadelphia where he spent most of his days on the basketball court perfecting his million dollar jumpshot. Wait, no, that’s all wrong. Casey has spent his entire life here in the Pacific NorthWest other than his one year stint as mayor of Hill Valley in an alternate reality 1985. He’s never been to Philadelphia, and his closest friends will tell you that his jumpshot is the farthest thing from being worth a million bucks. Casey enjoys all sports and covering them with written words or spoken rants. He has made an art of movie references, and is a devout follower of 80's movies and music. I don't know why you would to, but you can probably find him on the street corner waiting for the trolley to take him to the stadium or his favorite pub, where he will be telling people the answers to questions they don’t remember asking. And it only goes downhill from there if he drinks. He’s a real treat.