Titans lose late lead to Seahawks 20-17; Geno Smith returns, drives for victory

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Geno Smith’s week ended with a game-winning touchdown drive, a place in NFL history, against the Tennessee Titans. Smith took the Seahawks 75 yards on 14 plays and capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Colby Parkinson, putting Seattle ahead 20-17. Smith’s two go-ahead touchdown passes in the fourth quarter or overtime tied for the most in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also has three go-ahead touchdown passes in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime this season. Coach Pete Carroll praised Smith’s competitive mentality, stating that he believes his team will come through for him. The Seahawks improved to 8-7, and thanks to Detroit’s win over Minnesota, they now control their own playoff destiny. Smith’s strong mentality and consistent performance have had a significant impact on the team’s performance.

The Seahawks faced a tough Titans defense and struggled to get going on offense early on. Geno Smith, back after a two-game absence, led the Seahawks to a season-best 96-yard touchdown drive to take the lead. However, the Titans responded with a touchdown of their own to back ahead. Smith went 7 for 10 for 57 yards and a touchdown, including an 18-yard completion to Jaxon Smith-Njigba on third-and-14.

The Titans have now lost seven games by single digits, including five losses by four points or less. The Seahawks took a late lead, but when the Titans got the ball back, they couldn’t rally themselves, dropping to 5-10. Ryan Tannehill started at quarterback in place of an injured Will Levis, but was sacked six times. Derrick Henry ran for 88 yards and a touchdown, but the Seahawks took the lead 17-13 with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Geno Smith to tight end Colby Parkinson with 57 seconds left to reclaim the lead.

The Titans took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, but the Seahawks cut the lead to 7-3 on a 28-yard field goal by kicker Jason Myers. The Seahawks then took the lead at 13-10 on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Metcalf with 12:10 left in the fourth quarter. The Titans return to action next Sunday against the Texans in Houston.

Last Monday night, Geno Smith experienced a spectrum of emotions, initially outraged by Pete Carroll’s decision not to start him due to an injured groin, and then ecstatic when Drew Lock led a game-winning touchdown drive to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.

Smith’s exciting week concluded with his own game-winning touchdown drive on Sunday – and a spot in NFL history as a result.
With three minutes and 21 seconds remaining and the Seahawks behind the Tennessee Titans 17-13, Smith drove the Seahawks 75 yards in 14 plays. With a minute left, he finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown throw to tight end Colby Parkinson, putting Seattle up 20-17 for good.

“I feel like Drew did a great job last week and we had a chance to match it this week,” he added. “As I go out there, all I can think about is the situation… and how we can get into the end zone.” [Offensive coordinator Shane Waldron] did an excellent job, in my opinion. I think the protection was excellent. Obviously, the receivers did an excellent job of getting open, and Colby made a fantastic grab to seal the deal.”

Parkinson’s touchdown was the third lead shift in the fourth quarter, following a Smith touchdown throw to DK Metcalf that put Seattle ahead 13-10 and a Derrick Henry touchdown run. Smith now has six touchdown throws in the fourth quarter or overtime this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied for the most in a single NFL season in history. Four other players have thrown that many passes, the most recent being Justin Herbert in 2021 and Kirk Cousins in 2020.

According to Elias, Smith has three go-ahead touchdown throws in the last minute of the fourth quarter or overtime this season, which ties him for the most in NFL history.

“You’ve got to be around him to appreciate the competitive mentality that he has,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s in a great place. He is adamant that it will happen, that it will be completed, and that his team will come through for him. That conviction spreads to other males, and they sense him. They go through and do what they’re meant to do, and everything turns out OK. He has a huge influence on these individuals simply because his approach is so strong and steady.”

For the second week in a row, the Seahawks needed late-game heroics to win and keep their playoff dreams alive, and for the second game in a row, the offense delivered with a game-winning drive.

After Drew Lock led the comeback last week, it was Geno Smith, returned after a two-game hiatus, who led the offense on the game-winning drive this week, and the Seahawks won 20-17 over the Titans.

The Seahawks advanced to 8-7 with the win, and with Detroit’s win against Minnesota, the Seahawks now control their own postseason fate.

Faced with a stout Titans defense, the Seahawks struggled to get much going offensively early on, punting three times and making one field goal. A potential third-quarter drive stopped in the red zone, resulting in another short field goal, but late in the game, Geno Smith, returning after a two-game absence, and the rest of the offense got rolling.

The Seahawks were stuck at their own 4-yard line late in the third quarter, but pulled off a season-high 96-yard touchdown drive to grab the lead, finishing with an 11-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf. After the Titans responded with a touchdown of their own, Smith led a 14-play 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown throw to Colby Parkinson.

Smith completed 7 of 10 passes for 57 yards and a score on the last drive, including an 18-yard pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba on third-and-14.

The Titans left empty-handed on Christmas Eve.

Another close loss, this time against the Seahawks, 20-17, left the squad dejected.

“There are no moral victories in life, and there are no moral victories in professional football,” remarked Coach Mike Vrabel following the game. “I’d want to thank the workers. I’d want to thank the players. But we aim for much more than that, pure and simple. That’s the attitude we need to adopt in order to get out of this mess.”

The Titans have now lost seven games by a single digit, with five of those losses coming by four points or fewer.

The Titans let a late lead slip away as the Seahawks rallied for a victory at Nissan Stadium.

When the Titans got the ball back, they couldn’t come back, and they fell to 5-10 with the loss.

“It’s no longer draining, because we’ve been doing it all year,” said edge rusher Arden Key. “We just have to figure out a way.” It’s only one play. We need to find that one game-changing play to get us over the hump. We simply need to be a better situational football team. We must do better.

“We were defeated. We must find a method to improve. Moral triumphs are not possible. You either win or lose, and today we lost.”

Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback for an injured Will Levis, completing 18-of-26 passes for 152 yards while being sacked six times.

Derrick, the running back Henry rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown and passed for another.

However, it was insufficient.

The Titans led 17-13 with 3:21 remaining on a two-yard touchdown run by Henry, capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 8:49.

The Seahawks reclaimed the lead with 57 seconds remaining on a five-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Geno Smith to tight end Colby Parkinson.

When the Titans got the ball back, Tannehill was sacked twice, and a potential game-tying drive faded away.

“It’s brutal,” remarked Tannehill. “You stay in the game, find a way to take the lead late, they take the lead, and we don’t do enough to score.” Yes, it is exhausting. We had players out there fighting, despite several injuries. I’m proud of the players and how hard they fought, but we just fell a couple plays short and need to find a way to make those tough plays.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Titans grabbed a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on Henry’s 12-yard touchdown throw to tight end Chig Okonkwo, capping a six-play, 57-yard drive.

The Seahawks trimmed the Titans’ lead to 7-3 with a 28-yard field goal by kicker Jason Myers, but a 33-yard field goal by Titans kicker Nick Folk with 3:18 left in the second quarter put the Titans up 10-3 at halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Myers hit another 27-yard field goal to put the Seahawks up 10-6. On third down, Titans defensive back Terrell Edmunds intercepted a Smith ball intended for DK Metcalf, thereby ending the drive and forcing the field goal.

With 12:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, Smith’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Metcalf gave the Seahawks a 13-10 lead.

The Titans were once again dissatisfied after the final back-and-forth.

“It’s frustrating,” Henry said. “We have two games left, and we have to do everything we can to win them.” Today was a difficult one.”

The Titans return to action next Sunday in Houston against the Texans.

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