Geno Smith is playing with fire with turnovers, and the Seahawks may not be able to keep up

It’s tempting to write 750 words on the defense. The Seahawks have allowed just 30 points over their past three games while tallying 18 sacks in the process. Only problem is that it’s all come against the worst offense in the league (Bengals), the second-worst offense (Giants) and a 1-6 Cardinals team sans its starting quarterback. So, maybe later.

There’s also the rookie receivers — Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo, who each caught their first career touchdown passes in Seattle’s 20-10 win over Arizona on Sunday. Their production minus DK Metcalf was inspiring, particularly Bobo’s toe-dragger in the end zone that put his team up four. But not today. 

No, once again, the focus here is on the quarterback — the Seahawks’ second-year starter whose majestic passes are so often offset by his maddening mistakes. I won’t go so far as to say that Seattle is 4-2 despite Geno Smith, but that’s not far off. He has become about as dangerous to his own team as he is to opposing defenses. 

Sunday, Smith finished 18-of-24 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns. It’s a commendable line at first glance, particularly with the accompanying passer rating of 113.0. 

But there also was a wince-worthy interception in the third quarter, when, on third down from the Cardinals’ 16, he tossed a pass about 5 yards short of his intended receiver into the hands of Garrett Williams. There was an epic fail of a fumble on the next drive, when Smith mishandled the snap and gave it back to the Cardinals on Seattle’s 34. And in the brushed-from-memory-blunder department, there was a second-quarter pass thrown directly at Arizona linebacker Kyzir White, who charitably dropped it for the Seahawks. 

This is starting to become a theme for Geno, who had two interceptions and some preventable sacks vs. Cincinnati in last week’s 17-13 loss.

The (sort of) good news? He is acutely aware. 

“It’s kind of this weird feeling that I got, you know, specifically that you know, feeling like I haven’t done enough, I haven’t played my best game,” said Smith, who has seven touchdown passes this year against five interceptions and a lost fumble. “But, still, you know, we’re winning, and you know, we’re getting the job done.”

Are you talking about the season as a whole or just today? 

“Today and just as a whole. I feel like I haven’t played nowhere near where I’m capable,” he continued. “I believe I have a tremendous amount of talent, and I put the work in, I study. I know what’s going on out there. And it’s just one or two mistakes in just about every game that I keep coming up here and talking about.”

If you want a quarterback who epitomizes accountability, Smith is your guy. Such responses were antithetical to the ones Metcalf gave in regards to his penalty proclivity earlier in the week, which were simply dismissive. 

But that doesn’t change the reality that Smith’s turnover tendencies have been resurfacing lately — a glitch in his game that ultimately got him benched in his second year with the Jets. 

It was those first two seasons in New York when Smith threw 25 touchdowns passes against 34 interceptions. There also was a fumble vs. the Bucs in deep Tampa territory last year that turned an 11-point deficit into 18. And, of course, there was the sack fumble Geno took in the playoffs vs. the 49ers last January, when the Seahawks trailed 23-17 beforehand and 31-17 seven San Francisco plays later. 

None of this should detract from the fact that Smith threw a picturesque TD pass to Bobo that seemed to justify last offseason’s contract extension that guaranteed him $27.3 million. He also has a completion percentage of 68.6 (he led the NFL at 69.8 last season) and is quarterbacking a team on pace for at least 11 wins. That matters. 

Still, if uncanny describes Smith’s first seven games last season, uncertain defines the first seven this year. And his track record isn’t proven enough to reassure fans that he’ll settle back in. 

Geno is correct about his talent. Every week he’ll throw at least a few — sometimes a lot more — passes that dazzle even the most discriminating eye. It’s what led to him winning NFC Player of the Month last October and NFL Comeback Player of the Year. 

But there have been myriad mishaps lately. And as much as the 12s would like to say they’re uncharacteristic, I’m just not sure they can. 

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