Lions' comeback win over Packers puts Seahawks in postseason

ByBrady Henderson ESPN logo
Monday, January 9, 2023

SEATTLE -- Geno Smith, Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks are headed back to the playoffs.

An outcome that few thought was possible after the Russell Wilson trade became a reality Sunday night when the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers, 20-16, at Lambeau Field. The Seahawks kept their playoff hopes alive earlier in the day by beating the Los Angeles Rams, 19-16, in overtime, which left them needed a Lions win or tie to send Seattle to the playoffs as the NFC's seventh seed.

The Seahawks (9-8) will head to Santa Clara to play the No. 2-seeded San Francisco 49ers (13-4) in the wild-card round. Seattle has lost twice this season to its divisional rival -- 27-7 in Week 2 and 21-13 in Week 15.

The Seahawks traded Wilson and cut linebacker Bobby Wagner in March, moving on from two of the most important players in franchise history and ushering in was widely expected to be a rebuilding season. They were projected to win 5.5 games and finish last in the NFC West.

But Smith -- who spent most of the past seven seasons as a backup -- delivered a Pro Bowl season after beating out Drew Lock in an offseason battle to replace Wilson and the Seahawks got significant contributions from a stellar rookie class to exceed expectations. They got off to a 6-3 start that put them in first place in the NFC West, then dropped five of their next six to fall out of the NFC playoff standings before winning their final two games.

Smith threw a pair of interceptions Sunday and was nearly picked off a third time, but he threw a touchdown pass and led Seattle on a game-winning drive in overtime. Smith actually positioned the Seahawks for what would have been the game-winning kick at the end of regulation, but Jason Myers missed from 46, sending the game to overtime.

With the Seahawks making the playoffs, Smith earned another $1 million in incentives. He maxed out the $3.5 million he had available in incentives on his one-year contract, which carries a base value of $3.5 million.

This is the Seahawks' 10th playoff appearance in 13 seasons under Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.