5:15 p.m. | Lumen Field | Seattle
TV: ESPN | Radio: 710 AM/97.3 FM | Stream: NFL Game Pass
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Well, who knows where the Russell Wilson trade goes from here?
But for one night, this was the team that Pete Carroll envisioned he’d have: gutty, hard-playing, largely mistake-free and ultimately pulling out a win that to most seemed unlikely heading into the game.
And Seattle is now maybe the happiest 1-0 of the Pete Carroll era.
Onto the grades.
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Russell Wilson was booed relentlessly in his return to Seattle, and his replacement was serenaded with chants of “Geno! Geno! Geno!” throughout the game, as Geno Smith and the Seahawks upset the Denver Broncos, 17-16, to open their seasons Monday night before a packed house at Lumen Field.
Here are three immediate impressions from the game.
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The lusty boos for their former quarterback at the beginning of the game turned into happy chants for their new quarterback by the end of it.
And in typical Russell Wilson fashion, the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
But this time, a Wilson attempt to fashion a fourth-quarter comeback at Lumen Field — where he had pulled off 20 before in his career — fell just short.
Facing a fourth-and-5 at their own 46, the Broncos decided to let Brandon McManus attempt a 64-yard field goal. The kick sailed just wide left and the Seattle crowd, treated to an unusual spectacle all night long, left happy as could be with the Seahawks clinging to a 17-16 victory.
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Very weird decision to go for the long field goal when you have Russell Wilson, the guy you pretty much entrusted the franchise to. I'd have taken my chances on 4th-and-5.
Broncos attempt a 64-yard goal, it misses, and the Seahawks are going to pull off the stunning upset. #Seahawks 17, Broncos 16
Denver going for the field goal of 64 yards into the hard end of Lumen to kick into.
Cody Barton has had a nice game. But now he appears a little shaken up.
Looks like Seattle will go with Ryan Neal and an extra safety to replace Barton.
Ruling stands and Seattle loses a time out.
Talk about drama — Russell Wilson and Denver take over at their own 22 with 4:02 left in the game.
SACK! @astronaut gets Denver the ball back.
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
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Russell Wilson with the ball at Lumen Field, trailing by one, 78 yards to go, 4:02 to play. A very familiar scenario.
Denver out-gaining Seattle 401-256. But those three stops inside the 10 have been everything so far.
Two short completions and Seattle has a pretty critical third and 5.
Denver again has trouble at the goal line. Broncos got to the 3 but had to settle for a FG. Seahawks lead, 17-16, with 6:13 to play in regulation.
Shelby Harris with the hit on Russ to force that incompletion. Another impressive stand for Seahawks' defense.
Denver again Seattle territory — Denver has gotten past midfield on all 7 drives.
Wilson again all day on third and 4 and Wilson hits Sutton for 17. Seattle hasn't gotten a real consistent four-man rush.
Tariq Woolen appears to hurt his shoulder making tackle on second down run play. Sidney Jones now in game at corner.
After a scoreless third quarter, the story of the game so far is the Seahawks’ two defensive stands at the goal line.
The Broncos had two chances in the third quarter to score from inside the Seattle 1-yard line, and failed on both.
On the first, Quandre Diggs forced a Melvin Gordon fumble just in front of the goal line on a fourth-down play. Michael Jackson recovered the fumble and returned it to the Seattle 10.
Late in the third, on third-and-goal from the Seattle 1, Al Woods and Uchenna Nwosu broke through the line and hit Javonte Williams in the backfield, forcing a fumble. Jackson (again) recovered the fumble, this time in the end zone for a touchback.
It’s been a fun little battle between Seahawks star receiver DK Metcalf and Broncos second-year cornerback Pat Surtain II.
Metcalf boxed out Surtain to haul in a 15-yard pass from Smith near midfield, then celebrated my flexing and screaming at midfield.
But on the very next play, Metcalf caught a short pass and was straining for extra yards when he was stripped, losing the ball. The Broncos recovered at the Seattle 32 for the Seahawks’ first turnover.
Credit to the remade Seahawks offensive line, which has largely kept Geno Smith clean through three quarters.
The Seahawks put a lot on the shoulders of rookie tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, who are both coming off strong training-camp performances. They haven’t been perfect in their NFL debuts tonight, but they’ve been steady.
Seattle offense has stalled a bit in second half with 43 yards on 15 plays.
Cross beat by Chubb there and Smith fumbles. Cross gets it back but Seattle now has third and 16.
First career reception for Charles Cross. First-round pick can do it all.
And who said Seattle no longer has a running quarterback? https://t.co/gx7QgJuWZF
END OF THIRD
"Geno! Geno! Geno!"
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
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Penny appears to break off a big run but Lucas called for a hold.
The drive: 5 plays, 31 yards, 2:26.
The story: The Broncos somehow just ended their second straight drive on a goal-line fumble, this one by Javonte Williams.
Next possession: Seahawks start at own 20.
Time left: 3:05 left in 3Q.
OH MY ONE YARD LINE DEFENSE! 😤😤😤
📺 #DENvsSEA on @espn pic.twitter.com/POJdAa1GgV
Broncos fumble again at goal line, Seahawks recover.
Sorry, it was Williams on the carry. https://t.co/9dbeyjhIYN
Michael Jackson recovers the fumble in the endzone. You could say that was a Bad play by Denver.
A real Thriller for the 12s in attendance. #Seahawks #MNF
Randy Gregory strips the ball from Metcalf and Justin Simmons recovers and Denver has it at the Seattle 32. First turnover of the game.
Clear fumble from DK there. Yikes.
Noah Fant slow to get up after that play too.
Third and 10 and Smith hits Metcalf for 15 and Metcalf is fired up…..
Denver now with 11 penalties for 101 yards.
Seven of the Seahawks' 16 first downs have come via penalty. The Broncos have one first down via penalty.
The drive: 10 plays, 78 yards, 7:27.
The story: The Broncos took advantage of a long pass-interference call to get into the red zone, but the Seahawks defense came up with a big fourth-down stop of RB Melvin Gordon at the goal line.
Next possession: Seahawks start at own 2.
Time left: 7:33 in 3Q.
WHAT A STOP!
📺 #DENvsSEA on @espn pic.twitter.com/yRXacqDCiR
Broncos go on fourth down and Seahawks get the stop.
Wilson lofts it deep to Sutton on Woolen in man coverage and gets the DPI call and Broncos will be inside Seattle's 10.
Give @DangeRussWilson this kind of time and he'll find a first down.
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/54o9fOPBKO pic.twitter.com/r18oyrvPUT
Third and four and Wilson has all day to hit Sutton for an 18 yard gain.
Hard to ask for much more from Geno Smith than what the Seahawks have gotten so far as he his 17-for-18 for 164 yards and two touchdowns and a passer rating of 141.7, not far off the perfect rating of 158.3.
Smith hit his first 13 passes — the team record for consecutive completions in a game is Warren Moon with 17 against the Raiders in 1998 — with the first incompletion a pass just a little high and off the hands of Rashaad Penny.
As Pete Carroll wanted, Smith is taking what the defense gives him and being careful with the ball, checking down when needed.
If he keeps playing this way, the Seahawks might actually have something this season.
You knew there would be some growing pains with the two rookie cornerbacks — especially with a veteran QB like Russell Wilson knowing where to go with the ball.
So it was that rookie Coby Bryant got beaten pretty handily on a 67-yard TD in the second quarter that tied the game. Bryant had just entered the game as the nickel cornerback — veteran Justin Coleman had started. Jerry Jeudy snuck behind him for the completion about 20 yards downfield and then shook off a tackle attempt and slid by safety Josh Jones down the sideline for the score.
The injury to Jamal Adams is the one big negative of the first half. After being examined, he was carted off the field and while he was officially listed as doubtful to return, that seemed optimistic given Adams leaving on a cart.
So that leaves Seattle with Quandre Diggs and Josh Jones at safety for the rest of the game, and who knows how much longer.
It likely eliminates for now the three-safety package that the Seahawks appeared to want to use a lot this season to get Adams more involved at the line of scrimmage.
One way or the other the Seahawks are going to have to shore up their defense after allowing 257 yards to Denver in the first half.
The scoring play: The Broncos didn’t appear to use their two-minute drill super wisely, but they found enough time to cut into their deficit at halftime as Brandon McManus nailed a 40-yard field goal.
The drive: 9 plays, 57 yards, 2:24.
The score: Seahawks 17, Broncos 13.
McManus 40 yard field goal makes it 17-13 and Denver will get ball first to start second half.
Halftime: Seahawks 17, Broncos 13.
Denver: 257 total yards, Seattle 219.
Geno Smith; 17-18, 164 yards, 2 TDs
Russell Wilson: 10-15, 206 yards, 1 TD
Wilson sacked by Cody Barton on second down after Denver reaches the 24.
Russ is doing that thing again. A little magic to Sutton!
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
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Justin Coleman back at nickel after Bryant played the last series.
The scoring play: Geno Smith finds Colby Parkinson for his second passing TD of the night to give the Seahawks a 17-10 lead.
The drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 3:10.
The score: Seahawks 17, Broncos 10.
Geno is cooking 👨🍳 pic.twitter.com/Xj40nNm2LC
Geno! Smith hits a wide open Colby Parkinson down the slot for a TD that gives the Seahawks the lead again at 16-10. We've got a shootout!
Geno Smith liking them tight ends. Finds Colby Parkinson for his first career TD, 25 yards. Seahawks retake the lead.
Smith lofts a 25-yard TD pass to Parkinson for a 17-10 Seahawks' lead. Geno Smith is running the offense flawlessly so far.
Smith overthrows Penny for first incompletion of game after starting 13-for-13.
Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury a year ago and missed time in training camp with a broken finger, now has a new ailment to worry about, leaving Monday night’s game with a knee injury in the second quarter.
Adams was injured on a play that snapped with 9:31 to play in the second quarter in which he blitzed and hit Denver quarterback Russell Wilson as he threw.
The pass fell incomplete, and the Broncos had to punt after their second possession.
After leaving the field, Adams was examined in the blue tent for a few minutes, and the team then announced that he was doubtful to return. The injury appeared to be to Adams’ left knee.
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The scoring play: Oh, there are those Broncos WRs. Russell Wilson hits Jerry Jeudy for a 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown for his first passing TD with Denver to tie it up at 10-10.
The drive: Three plays, 75 yards, 1:46.
The score: Seahawks 10, Broncos 10.
BIG PLAY, @JERRYJEUDY!
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
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Coby Bryant beaten bad by Jerry Jeudy for what turns out to be a 67-yard TD that ties the game with 5:34 left. Wilson celebrates will with teammates as Jeudy enters end zone.
The scoring play: Seahawks kicker Jason Myers hit a 49-yard field goal to cap a nine-play drive by the offense.
The drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 5:54.
The score: Seahawks 10, Broncos 3
Seahawks get a field goal from Jason Myers to cap 9-play 50 yard drive and take 10-3 lead with 7:20 to play in second quarter.
Seahawks extend lead to 10-3 on a 49-yard Jason Myers field goal. Geno Smith 12-for-12, 98 yards, 1 TD. QB rating 128.5
Jamal Adams listed as doubtful to return with a knee injury.
Adams is visibly upset. https://t.co/j8dngNIJBZ
Smith now 9-9 as he hits Penny on an outlet pass for a first down.
Adams heading into the pop up medical tent after getting off the field. He was the one who hit Wilson in the backfield, and he seems to be feeling it. #Seahawks #MNF
The drive: Seven plays, 38 yards, 4:41.
The story: The Broncos couldn’t get much started on their second possession of the game, which included the first sack of Russell Wilson (by Uchenna Nwosu) and a hit on Wilson by Jamal Adams, who came up limping, to force an incompletion on third down.
Next possession: Seahawks start on own 19.
Time left: 13:14 in 2Q.
Jamal Adams gets a hit on Russ there, but Adams comes up limping.
Flag on Denver for illegal formation and Broncos will punt. Lockett back to receive for what is only his second punt return since 2019. https://t.co/uf4WpOxI4s
The Seahawks could not have asked for a better opening drive from Geno Smith.
With all the hype and buildup centered on Russell Wilson, there was little discussion over the past week about what Smith might be able to do when given the keys to this Seattle offense.
From the outside, expectations are understandably low for Smith, who hasn’t been a full-time starter in the NFL since 2014.
But Smith looked like a savvy veteran to start against the Broncos, completing all four of his passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Dare we say that he looked a little like Russell Wilson in escaping the pass rush and finding a wide open Will Dissly for a 38-yard touchdown? Heck of a play, for sure.
The Seahawks fans at Lumen Field have been heard, loud and clear.
Russell Wilson, in his return to Seattle, drew a steady chorus of boos throughout the first quarter in his Broncos debut.
Didn’t seem to bother him too much.
Wilson finished the first quarter 5-for-7 for 77 yards, finding little-known tight end Andre Beck for 52 yards on two receptions.
Wilson did put the ball in danger one time on a wild scramble, throwing a pass near the Seahawks goal like that Jamal Adams made a diving attempt to interception, before it fell incomplete.
Mark down that fourth-down play. It could loom large in this game.
From this seat, Pete Carroll made the right call in going for it on fourth-and-inches inside the Denver 10-yard line. It was a chance for the Seahawks to take a double-digit lead, and Smith appeared to have the first down on his QB sneak.
From the press box, it did not appear Smith got a favorable spot inside the 7-yard line. Denver took over from there.
First play of second quarter and Wilson finds no one open and has to scramble and chased down by Nwosu for a 2-yard loss.
End of an eventual first quarter. Denver has first and 15 at own 42. Geno Smith 7-7 for 89 yards and a TD and a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
The drive: 7 plays, 72 yards, 4:00.
The story: The Seahawks didn’t have much of an issue driving on the Broncos defense again, but a Noah Fant catch in the red zone was short of the first down and Geno Smith slipped on his sneak on 4th-and-short to turn the ball over on downs.
Next possession: Broncos start on own 7-yard line.
Time left: 2:55 in 1Q.
Carroll thought about challenging but puts the flag back.
He didn't get it. Denver got the push up the middle of the line. https://t.co/AU6IrueeEh
Seahawks stopped on 4th and inches at Denver's 7. They tried a QB sneak and the Broncos throttled it.
That inside pass to the tight end feels like a new wrinkle in this offense. They will measure but this is close to a first down.
Smith appears to audible to a run and Penny busts through the right side for 12 to the 16.
Drew Lock pretty fired up, gesturing at the Denver defense, after that late hit on Noah Fant.
Seahawks moving it again quickly as Seattle gets a DPI and then Smith hits Fant out of the slot. And now a personal foul on Kareem Jackson and Seattle to the 30.
The scoring play: Broncos kicker Brandon McManus hit a 30-yard field goal as the Seahawks held Russell Wilson out of the end zone — but not the red zone — on his first drive with Denver.
The drive: 9 plays, 77 yards, 4:31.
The score: Seahawks 7, Broncos 3.
Wilson's first drive as a Bronco ends in a Denver field goal.
The crowd is definitely into this one.
6:55 in the first, it is Seattle 7, Denver 3.
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Wilson now 2-3 for 52 yards, with the one incompletion a drop.
Denver starts at own 11 and Wilson hits Beck for 25 on second down.
I'm surprised how furious the boos are. Well done, 12s.
What a play by Geno Smith! Evades rush and hits Will Dissly who scoots in for an easy TD and a quick 6-0 Seattle lead.
"Geno! Geno! Geno!" chants breaking out here at Lumen. That happened fast. https://t.co/GMQT0tyar9
Smith 4-4 for 71 yards and a TD and a perfect passer rating of 158.3 on the first series. Seattle leads it 7-0 with 11:26 to play in first quarter.
What a start for the Seahawks‼️ pic.twitter.com/J9zsnWmKOa
Smith hit as he throws on third down but hits Lockett over middle to Denver 46.
.@GenoSmith3 stands tall and delivers on 3rd down. That's @TDLockett12!
📺: #DENvsSEA on ESPN/ABC
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Seahawks start at own 30 following kickoff. Here we go…….
Russell Wilson calls tails amidst a flurry of boos. It turns up tails and Broncos defer.
Russell comes out to the middle of the field for the coin flip. A big flock of boo birds flies over the stadium. #Seahawks #MNFPlaydoit
More boos as Wilson goes out with the other Broncos captains for the coin toss.
12’s why yalll booing Russ lol y’all is hell!
IT ALL STARTS TODAY! pic.twitter.com/aYVoYvUScg
Seahawks taking the field. pic.twitter.com/H7fOd24KIE
Loud booing at Lumen Field as Broncos come out of the tunnel onto the field.
Loud boos from the 12s as the Broncos take the field. You have to imagine that is directed at one person in particular. #Seahawks #MNF
Russ enters to…this pic.twitter.com/7JAc07qfO6
More boos as Denver leaves field. pic.twitter.com/uxBPmDmsRw
Loud cheer for Richard Sherman when shown on big screen. pic.twitter.com/Y4FtJTBezz
Sidney Rice also among former Seahawks here tonight. It's basically an LOB-era reunion here tonight.
Boos audible in press box as Russell Wilson takes field. pic.twitter.com/LGxBAd6Pvm
Fans at Lumen Field boo Russell Wilson as he jogs onto the field. pic.twitter.com/rEMaZ3PKYd
but how do you really feel pic.twitter.com/By46gzt6ek
Dee Eskridge also taking some punt returns in warmups.
Obvious point, but with Dunn and Bruns out Seattle has just four active cornerbacks, two who have been mostly nickels in camp — Coleman and Bryant. Woolen and Sidney Jones slated to start on the outside.
A few boos as Russell Wilson leaves field following pregame warmups. pic.twitter.com/yb6Dwb76sg
The Seahawks’ list of six inactive players for Monday night’s game included rookie running back Kenneth Walker III and starting left guard Damien Lewis, who had each been listed as questionable with injuries.
The other four are long snapper Tyler Ott, out with a shoulder injury, and cornerback Artie Burns, who is dealing with a groin injury, as well as two other players who are healthy scratches, defensive lineman Myles Adams and cornerback Isaiah Dunn.
Walker, taken by Seattle with the 41st overall pick in April, has been out since suffering a hernia injury in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh on Aug. 13, while Lewis has been out since suffering an ankle injury in the second preseason game against the Bears on Aug. 18.
With Lewis out, Phil Haynes will start at left guard.
Walker being out means DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer will be the backup running backs behind Rashaad Penny.
As for Ott, the team announced on Saturday he would be out with a shoulder injury suffered recently. The Seahawks elevated veteran Carson Tinker from the practice squad to take his place. Tinker, a veteran of 78 NFL games dating to 2013, signed to the practice squad on Thursday.
Seattle earlier in the day also placed linebacker Alton Robinson on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. That means he must miss at least four games, including the game against Denver.
Seattle also elevated linebacker Tanner Muse off the practice squad to add depth and help on special teams.
Our heart is so warm. 💚@MoneyLynch x @PeteCarroll pic.twitter.com/a0UolhvwqH
Marshawn Lynch on the sidelines. pic.twitter.com/hPArVSIdvN
The scene featuring @dkm14. pic.twitter.com/onNboZWS6t
Russell Wilson just chatted a bit with Geno Smith. pic.twitter.com/27NLpn7sux
More Russell back on the field. pic.twitter.com/FUwIuAIO1x
Listen at 3 pm: @bcondotta and others preview tonight’s Seahawks-Broncos season opener and Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle. https://t.co/Oad9E5dwWI
He has arrived…… https://t.co/fwyg4z6WJd
Russell Wilson on the field. pic.twitter.com/r1mhVXda0k
There is little doubt that Russell Wilson played himself into the realm of Seahawks royalty over the past 10 years, but on Monday night at Lumen Field he might not get a reception that typically befits a king.
Since being traded to the Denver Broncos in March following a decadelong Seahawks career in which he became arguably the most recognizable figure in Seattle sports, Wilson has raved about his new surroundings. Last week he signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $245 million that will keep him in Broncos orange and blue through 2028.
Suffice to say, feelings from Seahawks fans are strong. To some, he is a hero deserving of a standing ovation for bringing a home a Super Bowl title in 2014. To others he has joined the likes of former Mariners star Alex Rodriguez as an all-time Seattle sports Benedict Arnold.
In front of a national audience Monday night, Wilson might hear an unfamiliar sound from the 12s.
Regardless of the reception he receives, it’s clear the Seahawks community — including fans and business partners — is moving on.
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RENTON — What once seemed like the least fathomable thing that could ever happen in Seattle sports — Russell Wilson playing for another team — will soon become a stark reality in plain sight of what for 10 years were his most ardent fans.
And as Wilson takes the field for the first time as a Denver Bronco on Monday night on the same Lumen Field turf where he led the Seahawks to their greatest heights, the question will ring anew: How did we get to this point?
It’s a development even those who had an up-close seat to a lot of the drama still find hard to process.
“I never thought Russell would leave this team,’’ former Seahawk Michael Bennett said recently. “I thought Russell would be a fixture in this city forever. I think he represents everything that’s good about this sport and everything that’s good about humanity, his passion and the way that he cares about things and his dedication. So it’s kind of heartbreaking to see that he is gone.’’
But as the Seahawks brass said on the day the trade was made, in their view the reason for the trade was simple — Wilson wanted out.
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A game with the Denver Broncos marked the high point of the Russell Wilson-Seahawks relationship, that glorious February 2014 night in New Jersey, where Seattle recorded its lone Super Bowl victory.
Eight-plus years later it’s another Seahawks-Broncos game that marks the official parting of the ways between the sides, Wilson now with Denver and on the opposing sideline for Seattle’s regular-season opener.
But if that’s the dominant storyline, it’s far from the only thing that will decide Monday night’s game at Lumen Field.
Here are our weekly keys to the game, and prediction.
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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.