The Seattle Seahawks have put together a pretty strong start to the 2022 season, despite all the mayhem that ensued over the offseason. They finally decided to trade their longtime quarterback, Russell Wilson, and start from scratch. Through four games, though, it doesn’t look like Seattle has necessarily been starting from scratch.

The Seahawks took down their old friend Wilson and his new Denver Broncos squad in Week 1, and won a shootout against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. They lost a tough contest in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers and a winnable game in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons in between, but it’s worth noting the Seahawks don’t exactly have a ton of expectations surrounding them this season.

Seattle’s solid start to the season has seen some players stand out unexpectedly, which has allowed them to win a pair of games they may not have necessarily been expected to win. But it’s clear that one player has stood above the rest in that regard, and has played a huge role in the Seahawks success to start the season. Let’s identify that player and see why his strong play has been so helpful for Seattle early on in the season.

Seahawks most pleasant surprise in 2022: QB Geno Smith

With Wilson getting moved this offseason, it was fair to wonder who would end up replacing him under center. They picked up Drew Lock from the Broncos as part of the return for Wilson, and had him directly compete with longtime backup Geno Smith for the starting job in training camp. Smith ended up winning the job, which wasn’t a surprise after he put together some solid performances while filling in for Wilson last season.

Smith has built off his time filling in for Wilson last season to keep the Seahawks looking fairly competent to start the season. Smith has largely taken on the role of a game manager, as he focuses on limiting his mistakes in order to keep Seattle in their games. So far, it’s worked like a charm.

Smith started the season off by upsetting the guy he used to backup in Wilson. It wasn’t a dynamite outing from Smith (23/28, 195 YDS, 2 TD) but it was enough to lead his team to a victory. Quite frankly, that’s all the Seahawks have really been looking for from Smith to start the season.

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Those limited expectations may need to be raised, though, especially after Smith’s two latest outings. In Week 3 against the Falcons, Smith threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns, although his strong outing wasn’t enough to lead the Seahawks to a win. Still, it showed that Smith may be able to exceed the expectations set for him and Seattle entering the season.

Smith managed to one-up that performance in Week 4 against the Lions, as he threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns while also picking up 49 yards and another touchdown on the ground as well. Seattle needed every point they could get in this one, and a big reason they were able to pull out the 48-45 victory was because of Smith’s play.

To say these types of outings from Smith weren’t expected would be selling it short. Smith has been cool, calm, and collected in the pocket for the Seahawks, and has guided their offense up and down the field with ease to start the season. Heck, his numbers through four games are better than the numbers Wilson has posted through his first four games with Denver.

Smith struggled so mightily early in his career with the New York Jets that nobody ever really expected he would be able to do what he’s done with Seattle to start the season. Smith was expected to be a league average quarterback entering the season; instead, he’s been one of the better passers in the entire league.

It remains to be seen whether or not Smith’s performance to start the season is sustainable. He’s completing an otherworldly 77.3 percent of his passes, although that’s largely due to him not really forcing the ball down the field. Again, Smith has focused on limiting his mistakes, but it may be time to unleash him a bit more and see what he’s capable of.

Through four games, the Seahawks have achieved more than many folks expected, and much of that is due to the surprising success that Smith has had to start the season. He has a lot of weapons to work with, and he’s put them to good use early and often this season. He ultimately may regress a bit, but if Smith keeps up this high level of play, Seattle may be able to make an unexpected playoff run this season.