Tyler Lockett is one of the better deep threats in the NFL. We’ve known this for years now, and his downfield ability is illustrated by his 16.9 yards per reception in 2018. But in Week 2, he showcased another element of his game that had yet to be seen – his ability to do all the dirty work underneath.
Lockett caught a career high 10 passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers for 79 yards. All of that production came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Lockett was Russell Wilson’s go-to guy as the Seattle Seahawks deployed a quick passing game to negate Pittsburgh’s heavy blitz packages. Wilson identified where pressure was coming from at the line of scrimmage and made checks accordingly. Lockett caught 10-of-12 targets (should have been 11 as he had one drop) as the primary beneficiary of those checks.
“Tyler can do everything,” Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. “He can run every route, and he has great feel and sense on everything. He’ll do whatever he’s asked of. It fit the game plan really well and really, Russ and Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) and Tyler worked together really well to make it come to life.”
Lockett became the first Seahawks wide receiver to catch double digit passes in a game since Doug Baldwin in Week 3 of 2017 against the Tennessee Titans. For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at both player’s charts from their respective 10-catch performances.
There’s an obvious difference in the routes. Baldwin’s game was so notable because he had Allen Iverson-like creativity whereas Lockett is a master in efficiency. And that’s OK. Nobody is expecting Lockett to be Baldwin, he just needs to be as productive.
Apart from the one explosive for Baldwin down the left sideline, the other 19 receptions in the charts above came within 10 yards. That wasn’t necessarily the norm for Baldwin and it won’t be for Lockett, either. Seattle will continue to utilize Lockett’s ability to take the top off of a defense. But in games like last Sunday, when pass protection was porous against a blitz-happy defense, it was important to see that Lockett can carry the quick passing game.
On a random but significant note, Lockett swapped jerseys postgame with Steelers star wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster. The pair of up-and-coming receivers each wrote a message on their own jersey to give to the other.
Smith-Schuster kept his message straight to the point: "Keep Ballin! Be Great! Stay Litty!"