I must confess that I spent a good chunk of this game in a low-key funk, especially early on. Kyler Murray was scrambling all over the place. The Hawks defense was missing one tackle after another. An illegal contact penalty on Quandre Diggs robbed Coby Bryant of his first NFL interception. On the other side of the ball, the o-line struggled to open anything up, rendering the run game sluggish. While good stuff was happening – a tippy-toe touchdown from DK Metcalf, a Ryan Neal forced fumble and points from Jason Myers – I still felt unsettled, fixated on the negatives. It was like I was waiting for confirmation that my growing optimism of the past few weeks was premature. I was bracing for my fan heart to be broken.
And then Geno threw the pick-six. In that moment, my worst fears were coming to fruition. My fairy tale team was imploding. It had all been too good to be true, I told myself. The critics had been right, and I’d simply chosen to blissfully ignore them, opting for delusion over reality. I knew I’d keep watching–I’m never one to turn off a game, regardless of how bad it is. I’d see it to whatever ugly finish was coming, the joy drained right out of me.
But then, yet again, the unexpected happened. Geno Smith and this Seahawks team rose from the ashes like a fucking phoenix and grabbed the game back with a vengeance. Unfettered by any doubt, Geno and crew put together three beautiful drives, all of which resulted in touchdowns. It was pure, cool verve. And something triggered in the defense. They found their bite and had their way with Kyler Murray, sacking and pressuring with unfettered glee. The Hawks took the win, 31-21.
The grace and grit of this team start with Geno Smith. His intelligence, calm demeanor and confident heart set the tone. His teammates seem to readily follow. Although the pick-six felt painfully ominous, the players did not reflect that vibe. They played with ease and determination. Astonishingly, even at the worst moments, they were clearly still having fun. They rallied for their quarterback and for themselves. Maybe even for all of us.
This team is not who we thought they were. This season is not what we thought it would be. Although I was sure I’d truly embraced the legitimacy of the 2022 Seahawks, I was still steeling myself for disappointment, at least on a subconscious level. But this team has challenged me…forced me…to believe. This is Geno’s world now. And I am merely a mesmerized fleck.