They say there’s no such thing as bad pizza. You could say the same about football, America’s favorite weekly soap opera, compelling cinema disguised as sport with heightened drama, stylized action and plot twists galore. NFL fans have come to expect the unexpected, but even Tarantino’s warped mind couldn’t have dreamt this up.
Through four games—essentially a quarter of the season—the best quarterback in football, at least according to PFF’s metrics is … Geno Smith!? Surely this must be a mistake, a clerical error that fell through the cracks. Either that or our friends at ProFootballFocus have gone completely rogue with a contrarian take to rile up the Twitter masses.
Sometimes, the truth can be stranger than fiction, and this appears to be one of those times. Against all odds, Smith, a journeyman 31-year-old who has spent the bulk of his career as a scarcely-used backup, is taking the league by storm, leading all quarterbacks with a 77.3 completion percentage (which would be an NFL record) while trailing only Patrick Mahomes and Tua Tagovailoa in passer rating (108.0). He’s even shown some mobility, rushing for 49 yards—his highest output in eight years—Sunday at Detroit.
A second-round draft bust who couldn’t cut it in the Big Apple (the Jets benched him for Ryan Fitzpatrick early in his third season), Smith has been a revelation, faring significantly better than his Seahawks predecessor Russell Wilson, who has disappointed in his early Broncos tenure. All this from a career underachiever who, until his recent breakthrough against Atlanta, hadn’t thrown for 300 yards since the Obama administration.
Four games is still a relatively small sample size with plenty of time for Smith to revert to his past mediocrity, particularly with difficult matchups on the horizon against New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Arizona. But if he somehow keeps this up, a distinct possibility with Pro Bowlers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett both rounding into form, the Seahawks may be forced to reevaluate their plans at quarterback, entertaining the idea of Smith starting, not only the remainder of this season, but next year as well. Either way, it’s been quite the redemption arc for a late bloomer most of the league had given up on three teams ago.