Geno Smith threw two first-half touchdown passes, and the Seattle Seahawks ruined Russell Wilson’s return to Lumen Field Monday night with a 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos. Seattle drove 70 yards on six plays on its first possession to take an early 7-0 lead. Smith and tight end Will Dissly hooked up on a 38-yard scoring strike to finish the drive and ignite the raucous crowd. Wilson and the Broncos answered with a nine-play drive covering 77 yards.
However, Seattle’s defense buckled down in the red zone, and Brandon McManus booted a 30-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. A pair of yellow flags put the Seahawks back in business deep in Denver territory midway in the opening quarter. But Seattle turned the ball over on downs when Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones stopped Smith on fourth-and-one at the seven-yard line.
Jason Myers drilled a 49-yard field goal with seven minutes left in the second quarter to push the lead to 10-3. Rashard Penny highlighted the drive with a nifty 26-yard run. Denver knotted the score three plays later when Jerry Jeudy hauled in a pass over rookie cornerback Coby Bryant and sprinted 67 yards into the end zone. But the first-half fireworks were far from over.
Smith connected with tight end Colby Parkinson twice, including a touchdown pass of 25 yards, to cap off an impressive 75-yard drive to put Seattle back on top, 17-10. The Broncos rallied in the final minute and marched to the Seahawks’ 22-yard line before running out of time. McManus kicked his second field goal of the game to make it a 17-13 affair at the half.
Wilson engineered a seven-minute drive to open the third quarter, and the Broncos seemed primed to take the lead with a fourth-and-goal at the 1. However, Seattle free safety Quandre Diggs tackled and stripped the ball from Melvin Gordon at the goal line, and Mike Jackson recovered the fumble.
The Seahawks turned the ball back over a few plays later on a DK Metcalf fumble, but lightning struck twice for Denver when Javonte Williams coughed up the ball at the goal line. Jackson recovered his second fumble of the night to deny the Broncos again. Denver continued to move the ball consistently against the Seattle defense but failed again to strike paydirt.
A 15-play, 72-yard drive that ate nearly seven minutes off the clock stalled at the Seahawks’ eight-yard line. McManus split the uprights from 26 yards out to cut the lead to 17-16.
The Broncos threatened to pull off an improbable comeback with Wilson’s late-game heroics. However, McManus’s 64-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as time expired. Smith was 17 of 18 for 164 yards and two scores in the first half and finished 23 of 28 for 195 yards. The journeyman quarterback has posted a 2-2 record in four starts with the Seahawks. Wilson was 29 of 42 for 340 yards and a touchdown in his Broncos debut. The nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback was sacked twice and picked up two yards on one carry.
Denver outgained Seattle by 180 yards, 433-253, and led the time of possession by more than seven minutes. But the Broncos had two costly goal-line fumbles and 12 penalties for a whopping 106 yards. Seattle (1-0) will travel to San Francisco next Sunday to battle the 49ers (0-1), while Denver (0-1) will host the Houston Texans (0-0-1).