Following the Seattle Seahawks 40-34 overtime win on Sunday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting approached DK Metcalf.
“You’re lucky to have a quarterback like Russell Wilson,” Murphy-Bunting told Seattle’s rookie wideout.
The comment wasn’t meant as a dig toward Metcalf. It was merely one player stating the obvious to another. Russell Wilson is the league MVP through nine weeks. He carried Seattle again on Sunday with 378 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. So, yeah, Metcalf is absolutely lucky to have a QB like Wilson.
But Metcalf showed us that Seattle is equally lucky to have him. Metcalf caught 6-of-9 targets against the Bucs for a career-high 123 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a two-point conversion that tied the game at 21 in the third quarter. Metcalf is now up to 29 receptions for 525 yards and five scores on the year.
“He’s the real deal,” Pete Carroll said. “We’ve been around enough young guys. We know what they’re like when they come through the process. He’s not typical. He’s atypical. He’s well ahead of the curve, in his smarts and awareness and savvy.”
Metcalf’s touchdown was a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter that put Seattle up 34-27 with just 4:25 left to play. Wilson found Metcalf on a deep crosser from left to right. After securing the catch, Metcalf turned on the jets and ran away from the defensive back in coverage.
According to Next Gen stats, Metcalf reached 20.45 miles per hour on the score, the fastest speed of any Seahawks player this season.
“He was clutch. He was lights out,” Wilson said. “He’s been a star for us all year, so far, and hopefully we get to keep it that way.”
What’s more impressive than Metcalf’s big-play ability was his awareness late in the game. On Seattle’s final drive of regulation, Metcalf caught a pass over the middle, made a man miss and turned upfield for an 18-yard gain. Most importantly, the rookie had the sense to get out of bounds in order to preserve the Seahawks final timeout. Metcalf later caught a 6-yard pass and was able to get out of bounds once again. He was crucial in setting up what should have been a game-winning 40-yard field goal for Jason Myers.
After Myers missed the kick, Metcalf came up clutch again in overtime. On 3rd-and-6 from Tampa Bay’s 29-yard line, Wilson took a shot for Metcalf down the left sideline. The rookie didn’t have any separation, but Wilson still gave him a chance. Metcalf adjusted to the football and made a spectacular catch on the back-shoulder throw from Wilson.
“He’s trusted me,” Metcalf said. “It starts in practice. He’s trusted me in practice, and it just translates to the game.”
Consistent contributions from Metcalf would be a massive boost to the offense. He’d been mostly a boom or bust player until Sunday. His performance against the Bucs was a large step in the right direction. “I’m just fitting in wherever the team needs me, whether that’s blocking or catching the ball,” Metcalf said humbly.
Given how poorly the defense played on Sunday (and all season for that matter), Seattle will continue to need Metcalf a great deal. He and newly acquired Josh Gordon have the opportunity to take pressure off of Tyler Lockett and help make Seattle’s passing game one of the best in the NFL.