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DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett come through late to spark Seahawks’ victory over Commanders

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By Adam Jude Seattle Times

As a young wide receiver, Jaxon Smith-Njigba knows how fortunate he is to be able to work alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf every day.

“It doesn’t get any better for a rookie receiver,” Smith-Njigba said. “Having DK and Tyler, I mean, they’re the best of the best. What I can learn from them – on and off the field – is just beyond measure. I’m definitely blessed.”

Smith-Njigba got things started early for the Seahawks receiving corps, posting three catches for 39 yards in the first quarter. He was as animated as he’s been all season after his 21-yard reception along the Seahawks sideline, when he lowered his shoulder and laid out Commanders safety Kamren Curl at the end of the play.

Each week, Smith-Njigba seems to build on his growing camaraderie with Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

In the end, though, Smith turned to his two trusted veterans to close out a 29-26 victory over the Washington Commanders on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field.

After a sluggish first half, Smith finished with a career-high 369 yards with two touchdown passes – the last one on a 5-yard pass to Lockett with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter.

Smith completed eight of his final 10 passes in the fourth quarter – and nine of those 10 targets went to either Lockett or Metcalf.

When the Seahawks needed one last drive, with the score tied 26-26, Smith locked in on Metcalf in the final minute.

Metcalf’s first reception went for 17 yards to the Seattle 48-yard line with 33 seconds left. Two plays later, Smith hit Metcalf again for a 27-yard gain to the Commanders’ 25, setting up Jason Myers’ 43-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

“DK, he’s such a special player,” Smith said. “Any time we get a chance to get him the ball, especially when the game is on the line, he continues to show up and show you exactly who he is. I believe he’s one of the better receivers in the game. He played a tremendous game today. We’ve got to keep that up. We’ve got to keep building on it.”

Metcalf finished with seven catches for 98 yards (on 12 targets). Lockett finished with eight catches for 92 yards and one TD (on 10 targets), and Smith-Njigba had four catches for 53 yards (on five targets).

“As you can see, D-coordinators are trying just about everything to guard those guys, and it’s really hard for them to do,” Smith said. “Either you’re going to double (team) DK or you’re going to double Tyler. And my job is to find the guy who is matched up one-on-one. Typically, those guys win their one-on-ones.”

Lockett matched his season high with eight receptions despite taking a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first quarter from Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr.

Lockett was evaluated on the Seahawks sideline for a concussion before ultimately being cleared to return.

“I stayed down for a little bit,” Lockett said. “I ended up having to go through protocols and stuff, and then they told me that I was all right.”

Forbes was ejected after officials in New York reviewed a replay of the hit and deemed it was forcible contact on a defenseless player.

“It was certainly not a bang-bang-type play where you have both the defender and the receiver just playing for the ball,” Walt Anderson, the NFL senior vice president of officiating, said in a pool report after the game. “We want players to stay away from helmet-to-helmet contact. We’re also looking at is the defender making the attempt to play the ball or is he making no attempt to separate the ball from the player – in terms of going straight for the head? And in this case, it was the latter where he just went straight to the head and that’s why it rose to the level of disqualification.”