Seattle Seahawks break Russell Wilson's return, upset Denver Broncos

SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks upset the Denver Broncos 17-sixteen on Monday night as Russell Wilson, who performed his first 10 seasons in Seattle, was outdueled by Geno Smith.

Seattle Seahawks

For your complete hypothesis main into Monday night’s season opener about how Wilson can be acquired in his first sport in opposition to his previous group, it was his former backup who acquired the loudest ovation.

And stole the current.

As boos reigned down relentlessly on Wilson, the Lumen subject crowd celebrated every huge play by Smith with chants of “GENO, GENO!” And there have been simply enough of them — collectively with a pair of first-half touchdown passes — to raise Seattle to a 17-sixteen win.

it would take years to get your hands on out whether or not the Seahawks made the becoming transfer by buying and promoting Wilson in March for an monumental draft haul as a substitute of making an try to make issues work with the proper quarterback in franchise historic previous. One sport, as thrilling as a outcome of it was, does not validate that transfer. nonetheless it does current some speedy satisfaction for the Seahawks — and a few hope for his or her followers that probably this season will not be the slog that all people has assumed it would possible be.

QB breakdown: Making his first Week 1 start since 2014, Smith did not seem as if a longtime backup who’s anticipated to be little greater than a sport supervisor. He regarded like an NFL starter. Smith accomplished his first thirteen passes and was 17-of-18 with a pair of touchdowns all by way of a shut to-good first half. He was appropriate and averted the large mistake that plagued him in pivotal moments when he stuffed in for Wilson final season. He made performs collectively with his legs, too, stepping up inside the pocket to flee stress and avoiding killer sacks inside the tactic. Smith accomplished 23-of-28 for 195 yards and two touchdown passes.

procuring for the breakout efficiency by Seattle’s tight ends: a properly-favored notion inside group headquarters this offseason was that tight ends can be an even greater an ingredient of the Seahawks’ offense this season — as a outcome of whichever quarterback changed Wilson can be extra inclined to throw their means than he was. That regarded like a prescient thought Monday night, with Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson catching a mixed eight passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Their mixed 9 targets had been six decrease than Seattle’s receivers acquired. Seattle acquired Fant inside the Wilson commerce and re-signed Dissly for three years and $24 million after he examined free agency. the value to signal him went up when one other group went after him exhausting. That group? The Broncos.

Pivotal play: On consecutive third-quarter possessions, the Broncos drove to Seattle’s 1-yard line and appeared poised to attain the go-forward touchdown. each occasions, the Seahawks’ protection held them out of the tip zone by forcing a fumble on the purpose line. exterior linebacker Uchenna Nwosu stripped Broncos working again Javonte Williams on the second, an ingredient of his sterling Seattle debut that additionally included a sack, a go defensed and seven tackles. The Seahawks signed Nwosu to assist them with their elevated emphasis this season on three-4 appears to be like up entrance. the two-yr, $19.055M deal he signed in March made him the very best-paid free-agent addition by approach of APY underneath GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks held Denver to six factors on 4 journeys to the pink zone. — Brady Henderson

Underrated statistic to know: Geno Smith is the third quarterback since 1990 to full every of his first thirteen passes in per week 1 sport — collectively with Gardner Minshew ( 2019 Jaguars) and Jim Kelly (1990 funds).

subsequent sport: at 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET, Sept. 18)

Denver Broncos

After an offseason full of the hopes and goals that acquired here with quarterback Russell Wilson’s arrival in Denver, it was the Broncos’ protection that had some opening-night jitters.

underneath new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, the Broncos tried to be aggressive inside the go rush, making an try to protect the ball away from Seahawks broad receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, nonetheless it wasn’t till exterior linebacker Randy Gregory ripped the ball out of Metcalf’s fingers deep into the third quarter that the Broncos’ protection might settle in.

as a outcome of of this, Wilson’s 340 yards passing and one touchdown had been virtually a nondescript footnote in a 17-sixteen Seattle win that ended with a missed Brandon McManus subject purpose try from sixty 4 yards.

It will not be a carefree stroll by way of the evaluations for Denver’s protection. Seahawks tight ends caught six passes for ninety eight yards and two touchdowns earlier than halftime, and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith accomplished his first thirteen passes of the sport as an ingredient of a 17-of-18, two-touchdown efficiency inside the opening half.

Pivotal play: The Broncos had been in a slugfest from the start and by no means led. Their night ended when McManus missed a sixty 4-yard subject purpose try with 14 seconds left to play. On a third-and-14 with 1:eleven left, Wilson hit Javonte Williams with a 9-yard go, establishing a fourth-and-5 from the Seattle forty six. as a substitute of going for the fundamental down with three timeouts remaining immediately after the third-down go, the Broncos ran the clock proper down to twenty seconds, recognized as a timeout, then missed the sector purpose.

Troubling pattern: Week 1 overreactions are as previous as a outcome of the NFL, however given the Broncos reside in a division by way of which the fully different three teams have quarterbacks who’ve been named to the expert Bowl, Smith’s wheeling and dealing to 17-of-18 passing inside the opening half can’t be ignored.

And whereas the Broncos did harass Smith some and hit him a quantity of occasions, he moved the ball out shortly, created time inside the pocket with extreme quality footwork and was greater than eager to take the most safe completion accessible. One sport does not a pattern make, nonetheless the Broncos’ rushers are going to ought to get to the quarterback extra usually, and in addition they will not permit any quarterback to get in a thirteen-of-thirteen rhythm to open a sport.

best hole in sport plan: a quantity of of it was actually the Seahawks’ defensive sport plan to protect issues funneled to the place the assist was, nonetheless the Broncos’ broad receivers had been focused simply twice inside the opening half when the Seahawks took administration of the tempo of the sport.

Wilson did not put the ball in harm’s means, and that was a great factor, however as a lot as coach Nathaniel Hackett has hoped to be aggressive on offense, the Broncos weren’t the aggressor, particularly early inside the sport. And when the Seahawks acquired the tempo of the sport the place they wished it, it grew to become a battle for the Broncos.

Denver’s broad receivers did not actually get entangled till late inside the third and into the fourth quarters.

Troubling pattern II: Double-digit penalties for over one hundred yards? Critics will level to Hackett’s go-straightforward strategy inside the preseason video games, by way of which simply about your complete starters did not play in any respect.

The penalties acquired here on every side of the ball and had been ailing-timed — particularly a false start with underneath 7 minutes to play and the Broncos contained in the Seahawks’ 5-yard line — and had been too usually momentum-busters. — Jeff Legwold

Underrated statistic to know: The Broncos are the fundamental group as a outcome of the 1987 Chiefs to lose two fumbles from the opponent’s 1-yard line inside the identical sport, per Elias sports activities Bureau. The final event occurred in a sport using substitute gamers.

subsequent sport: vs. Texans (4:25 p.m. ET, Sept. 18)