SEATTLE (AP) — With the possibility of their franchise quarterback returning soon, the Seattle Seahawks rallied around the idea of winning for Geno Smith.
For the first time in years, Smith walked off the field Sunday as a victorious starting quarterback, and he played a big part in ending Seattle's three-game skid.
“It’s a great day for Geno, and he just deserves it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s been such a great Seahawk, and all of that. He played his way to (win) this game. Nobody gave him nothing. He earned this thing today.”
Smith ran for one score and threw a pair of touchdown passes to DK Metcalf, and the Seahawks thumped the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-7 to help stabilize a season starting to spiral into trouble for Seattle.
In what may be his final start while Russell Wilson recovers from finger surgery, Smith was terrific picking apart the Jaguars defense for one of the best performances of his career. Smith completed his first 14 passes for the longest streak to start a game in the NFL this season. He finished 20 of 24 for 195 yards, and his 83.3% completion percentage was a career best with at least 20 pass attempts.
Smith said he knew the streak he was on before throwing a pass attempt away late in the first half. It was the first game Smith started and his team won since 2016 in a game he suffered a knee injury and didn't finish.
The last win Smith started and finished was 2014.
“I’m out there just doing my job," Smith said.
While Tyler Lockett was Smith’s favorite target, Metcalf found the end zone. Metcalf made a terrific leaping grab over former teammate Shaquill Griffin in the second quarter to give Seattle (3-5) a 14-0 lead. Metcalf added a 5-yard TD reception early in the third quarter.
Lockett finished with 12 catches for 142 yards, the fourth time in his career with at least 12 receptions.
“The more that Geno understands my game, the more that I understand his game it helps us to be able to find a middle ground and how we can make each other successful,” Lockett said.
Jacksonville (1-6) avoided being shut out for only the fourth time in franchise history in the regular season on a short touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to Jamal Agnew with 1:49 remaining. Lawrence finished 32 of 53 for 238 yards, and his ninth interception this season came when he clearly expected Tavon Austin to run a different route.
“We played like crap today,” Lawrence said. "That’s gonna happen every now and then, but we can’t let this happen again for sure.
It didn’t help that Jacksonville played most of the final three quarters without star running back James Robinson because of a bruised heel, coach Urban Meyer said.
Robinson appeared to injure his heel — it was originally announced as an ankle injury — after catching a 17-yard screen pass in the final seconds of the first quarter. He was listed as questionable and seemed to be testing the foot on the sideline during the second quarter. He never returned.
Jacksonville snapped its 20-game losing streak two weeks ago beating Miami in London. The Jaguars have yet to put together consecutive wins since midway through the 2019 season.
“I didn't see this coming," Meyer said. "We had a good week of practice, guys are freshened up from a bye week and we go down 14-0 and we're not built to just be a throw team. We've got to have the run game, and the penalties were nonsense.”
It’s unclear when Wilson will return following his finger surgery. With a bye next week, there is a chance Seattle’s franchise quarterback could be ready Nov. 14 when the Seahawks travel to Green Bay.
If that’s the case, Smith’s time as the starter went out on a high.
Smith was decisive Sunday and made a point of getting Lockett involved early. Lockett had just four receptions in the previous two games combined. He had three catches in the first quarter and eight by halftime against Jacksonville’s pass defense that entered the week ranked 31st in the league.
Lawrence's late touchdown meant he has never been shut out in any game in his career at Clemson or his first season in the NFL. The late TD also avoided just the second shutout of head coach Urban Meyer's career. Meyer's only time being shut out as a head coach came in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl when Ohio State lost 31-0 to Clemson.
RING OF HONOR
Seattle inducted former coach Mike Holmgren into the team’s “Ring of Honor” during halftime. Holmgren is the 14th honoree in franchise history. Holmgren coached the Seahawks from 1999-2008 and took Seattle to its first Super Bowl appearance after the 2005 season. Holmgren went 86-74 in the regular season with Seattle and won five division titles.
Holmgren is the second honoree this year. Former Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck was inducted during last week’s game against New Orleans.
Jaguars: Jacksonville hosts Buffalo next Sunday.
Seahawks: Seattle has its bye.
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