Last Sunday wasn’t the first time DK Metcalf had been shadowed by a premier corner. As a rookie, he received a full dose of Jalen Ramsey in Week 14. The Seahawks lost that game to the Rams, 28-12, but Metcalf posted a respectable six receptions for 78 yards against Ramsey.
That’s why Seattle’s coaching staff was confident in Metcalf’s ability to produce against Patriots star corner Stephon Gilmore while simultaneously matching Gilmore’s physicality. It was no surprise that the reigning Defensive Player of the Year traced Metcalf throughout. The Seahawks banked on that. They just weren’t all that worried about it.
“We have a ton of respect for (Gilmore) as a corner and a coverage player, but we have more confidence in DK. I think that’s proven,” Brian Schottenheimer said on Thursday.
And Metcalf delivered, posting four catches for 92 yards and a score. His top highlight was a 54-yard touchdown, beating Gilmore on a post corner. Metcalf continues to silence his critics who screamed from the mountain tops that he couldn’t run crisp routes. On that play, Metcalf sold the inside move perfectly, leaning into the middle of the field and even briefly looking back towards Russell Wilson as if he were expecting the ball. He then planted and turned toward the sideline, creating the step-and-a-half of separation needed against Gilmore.
“It was a magnificent route. It really was,” Schottenheimer said.
Metcalf has 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns through two contests. That’s a 16-game pace of 1,496 yards and 16 scores. Forget the Pro Bowl, those numbers would surely earn him All-Pro honors. I posed this question earlier in the week, and I asked Chris Simms as well during our weekly chat: If the reigning Defensive Player of the Year couldn’t slow down Metcalf, who can?
“Nobody,” Simms said. “He’s an All-Pro talent. He’s a Hall-of-Fame first ballot-type talent. There are not many people who have ever been created in the history of planet earth like DK Metcalf. That’s the only way I can really put it.”
It’s still baffling that Metcalf fell all the way to the last pick in the second round. Simms is just as mystified. He had Metcalf as his No. 1 receiver in the 2019 draft. “I still don’t understand what the hell the rest of football was doing,” he said. “You mean the guy who is the biggest, the fastest and the hardest to tackle is not the best receiver? I don’t understand that.”
There’s no doubt that Metcalf is rapidly joining the conversation among the game’s elite receivers. Getting the upper hand against Gilmore means that double teams are coming his way. As Simms put it, you simply can’t expect just one guy to put the clamps on Metcalf.
“(Gilmore) usually overwhelms receivers with his physicality and his strength. That wasn’t going to happen with DK Metcalf. Nobody is pushing that guy around,” Simms said. “Every team in football better be on notice. If you’re on an island with DK Metcalf, you’re about to get torched.”