SEATTLE – One is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound specimen with the body fat of a mannequin and superior speed.
The other is a rabbit – small but quick and impossible to corner.
The first is DK Metcalf, the Seattle Seahawks’ new franchise record-holder for receiving yards in a season. The second is Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks’ new franchise record-holder for receptions in a season.
Seattle has had myriad movers and shakers on offense since Russell Wilson took over as quarterback in 2012. Among them have been running back Marshawn Lynch, receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham, all of whom made the Pro Bowl while wearing the navy blue and kelly green.
But it is unlikely Wilson has had as potent a weapon as the Metcalf-Lockett tandem. They’ve provided thrills all season – and will be essential to the deep playoff run the Seahawks hope to make.
As far as wide receivers go, there isn’t a better 1-2 punch in the NFL. True, if you redefined the category to “pass catchers,” then you’d have to give the title to the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, the former of whom is a tight end. But as far as players with a “WR” next to their name, it’s Metcalf and Lockett right now. Or maybe it’s Lockett and Metcalf. Honestly, it’s hard to tell who the more effective player is on a given week.
As far as pure explosion goes, it’s Metcalf. For a man of his size to run a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine two years ago is astonishing. He is a walking go route, and has become Wilson’s go-to receiver on deep balls this season.
Metcalf’s 15.7 yards per catch rank third among receivers with at least 1,000 receiving yards this season (he had 1,303 yards). He has 10 touchdown catches, and though it wasn’t an offensive highlight, his chase-down of Arizona safety Budda Baker remains one of the top 10 plays of the year.
Lockett, meanwhile, is a walking first down. He may not be as physically imposing as Metcalf, but he is able to blend short-yardage receptions with explosive plays in a manner maddening to opposing defenses. In Sunday’s 26-23 win over the 49ers, Lockett caught 12 passes for 90 yards (giving him 100 receptions for the season). He had a game earlier in October vs. the Cardinals in which he caught 15 balls for 200 yards.
On Tuesday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about the duo that has transformed Seattle’s offense.
“They’re so uniquely different. They’re just uniquely different in style and all – the result is that you throw it to them and they catch it. And they make plays and they make big plays, and their consistency is really the thing that jumps out,” Carroll said. “Tyler has been doing it for years. Think about how long he has been good, and he just continues to be unique and special. He had as good a game as he’s ever had in this last one. DK just continues to be impressive in a totally different fashion.”
The Seahawks haven’t relied on their passing attack in the second half of the season like they did in the first. With running back Chris Carson healthy, they’ve divided up the ground and aerial attack fairly evenly. But that doesn’t mean that this duo won’t be a crucial aspect to Seattle’s attempt to reach its fourth Super Bowl.
If there is one caveat you can ascribe to the Seahawks’ four-game winning streak to close out the season, it’s that it came against teams with a combined record of 25-39. One of those teams was the 10-6 Rams, who beat Seattle the first time they played this season and have the No. 1 defense – and passing defense – in the NFL.
One could make the argument that the Seahawks will, in turn, have to rely on the run game – but the reality is that Metcalf and Lockett are going to have to find a way to break through. All year long, the entertainment these two have provided has been a luxury.
Once the playoffs start, it will be a necessity.
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