Smith, the Seahawks survived Wilson’s comeback in a win over the Broncos

SEATTLE (AFP) – It was a familiar sight in Seattle: Russell Wilson leading his team’s eventual win to the game late in the fourth quarter.

This time, he wasn’t given a chance by his new Denver head coach, and blasted off the field in exchange for a 64-yard field goal attempt that left plenty of confusion and the Seattle Seahawks celebrated their season-opener unexpectedly, 17-16 victory over the Broncos Monday night.

With the Broncos facing fourth and fifth in the Seahawks with a minute remaining and all their time, coach Nathaniel Hackett opted to let the clock run out to 20 seconds before sending Brandon McManus to try the low-ratio kick.

“I don’t think it was a wrong decision. I think he can make it happen,” Wilson said after returning to the city where he played his first 10 seasons. in whatever he decides.”

Gino Smith threw two touchdown passes in the first half as the Seahawks’ offensive prodigiously kicked off the post-Wilson era. Denver had plenty of chances after the break but flopped twice at the 1-yard line.

Then came the last moment, which raised a lot of questions about the management of Hackett’s watch and the decision-making in his inception as head coach. The NFL kickers are 2-for-35 in attempts of 64 yards or more since 1991, according to Sportradar, and McManus’ career yard is 61 yards.

The left kick missed wide, and instead of leading Wilson into the 34th quarter of his career or the overtime return of his career, the Seahawks celebrated by chanting “Geno! Geno!”

“I was surprised they took Ross there,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

Denver faced fourth and fifth at Seattle 46 after Wilson hit Jafonte Williams for a 9-yard gain. McManus said that was the exact place on the field the offense needed to get to to give him a shot in the kick.

“I wish we were a lot closer, but he put us in that weird spot there because we were in range, but we were in a position of fourth,” Hackett said. “I didn’t think we’d get that many yards. … We just made our decision and wanted to get our picture taken there.”

Then Hackett used his delays as the Seahawks knelt, lengthening the Seattle celebration.

Smith and the Seahawks played a bit of attack in the second half but the first half was good enough. Smith threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Will Dissly on his first possession of the season and hit Colby Parkinson for a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Smith finished 23 of 28 for 195 yards, but was 17 of 18 for 164 yards in the first half.

“For him to get out there and get a win like this shows our confidence in him,” said DK Metcalfe, one of the wide receivers in Seattle.

Wilson was 29 of 42 for 340 yards and a touchdown. But Denver couldn’t overcome their inefficiency in the red as Melvin Gordon III and Williams both flailed in plays that were cut at the 1-yard Seattle line.

“We can run the ball. We can pass the ball. We just have to be healthy in the red,” Gordon said.

The Seahawks moved up to No. 1 in the NFC West after losing the Arizona, San Francisco and Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Wilson went from being a contested pick in the third round to a cornerstone of the franchise that helped Seattle win their only Super Bowl title. But his departure this past season on a deal to Denver was the chaotic result of a mostly glittering career with the Seahawks.

And Seattle fans were willing to let Wilson know what it meant to be a strong, competitive player on the court as he enjoyed many victories.

“Just going out there and seeing him wear a Bronco shirt was pretty shocking to me,” Metcalfe said.

Wilson was greeted with lustful boos every time he stepped onto the field from a crowd notorious for making noise. They started in pre-match training and the volume didn’t drop throughout the victory.

Some streamers on the field compared Wilson to Alex Rodriguez, who left poorly for a huge decade in Texas early in his baseball career. Others swapped out words from a famous phrase during his time in Seattle, urging the Seahawks, “Let’s cook Ross.”

“Tonight was special, just on the other side of what I’m used to. But it was still a special environment in a place I’ve always loved,” Wilson said.

Wilson and the Broncos had plenty of opportunities to silence the crowd.

Denver played eight games in Seattle 12 in the third quarter and came out with zero points after the two teams stumbled.

The Broncos had three more plays inside the Seattle 10 in the middle of the fourth quarter and they still couldn’t find the finish zone. Denver reached the 3-yard line but his third false start in the game put Wilson back to an 8 and he was incomplete on his next two throws. McManus’ 26-yard field goal with 6:13 left managed to pull the Broncos out within 17-16.


Safety Seattle Jamal Adams suffered what Carroll said after the game was a serious injury to his left quadriceps tendon. Adams was knocked off the field after Wilson was nearly sacked in the first quarter, and was eventually driven away on a wagon.

Denver lost right-back Quinn Mainers to a hamstring injury in the first half and quarterback Cowan Williams to a hand injury in the fourth quarter.

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Broncos: Host Houston on Sunday.

Seahawks: In San Francisco on Sunday.