Geno Smith's value to Seahawks explained in one unexpected statistic

Smith seems to get his share of disrespect but one statistic might change that.
Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks
Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

A common narrative on social media when it comes to Geno Smith is that he shouldn't be the Seattle Seahawks quarterback because he isn't good in the biggest points of the game. As many games are won - or lost - in the fourth quarter, we can assume that more often or not, fourth quarters are consistently more stressful than in any other part of a game. Quarterbacks should earn a lot of respect by consistently bringing their teams back from the brink of defeat to win games.

Only, that does not seem to apply to Smith. He does not get enough credit for what he does late in games. During fourth quarters in 2023, Smith had the seventh-best quarterback rating (100.2) for any quarterback with 100 or more fourth quarter passes (22 quarterbacks threw at least 100 passes in the fourth quarter). Smith also had the seventh-best completion percentage.

Smith also led the NFL in game-winning drives (5) and fourth quarter comebacks (4) last season. Saying Smith is not good in high-stress parts of the game is simply false.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith deserves more respect for his late-game heroics

There is another key statistic, however, there might be even more telling of Smith's value to his team. In 2023, Seattle was one of six teams that won just one game or less without ever trailing.

In other words, Smith was often playing from behind, and no...that was not his fault. Seattle's defense could not get teams off the field on third down, and former offensive coordinator Shane Waldron forgot about the run game at times, so Seattle became pass-happy and more easily figured out. Based on play-call percentage, Seattle threw the ball the fifth-most times in the league last year.

The other five teams to have only one win without trailing - the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, Washington Commanders, and Carolina Panthers - combined to have a combined win percentage of .270. None of those teams came close to having a winning record, which the Seahawks did, and all might have been better had Geno Smith been their quarterback.

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This season, the defense might be much improved under new head coach Mike Macdonald and the offense should have better consistent play-calling by new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. The team around Smith should be better which should mean Smith has to do a bit less to win games. As the Seahawks were just one game away from making the playoffs in 2023, any improvement to the areas around Smith might put Seattle back into the postseason in 2024.

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