A 36-yard touchdown catch against the Vikings in the preseason propelled Seahawks wide receiver David Moore into an impressive sophomore campaign. Moore will be reunited with that Minnesota defense on Monday night.
David Moore can pinpoint the specific pass that made his breakout sophomore season possible.
It was Aug. 24, and the Seahawks and Vikings were tied, 13-13, with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter of their third preseason game. Rookie quarterback Alex McGough took a shotgun snap from the Minnesota 36-yard line, faked a handoff to running back C.J. Prosise, turned to his right and let ‘er rip.
Moore — who had been running a go route down the sideline — shielded off the cornerback with his 215-pound frame, leaped, trapped the football against his body, stepped through a safety’s feeble tackle attempt and high-stepped into the end zone.
This was the second-year wide receiver’s first NFL touchdown.
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It was also proof that a seventh-round pick from East Central (Okla.) University could compete.
“It for sure got my confidence level up,” said Moore, who later added an electric 75-yard punt return touchdown that was called back because of a holding penalty on the following drive. “It just opened my eyes up to a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff that I wasn’t able to do (before), I was able to do in that game. I just had a lot of fun.”
The 6-foot, 215-pound wide receiver has seemingly been having fun ever since. After failing to catch a pass in the first three games this season, Moore has piled up 22 catches, 413 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his last nine. He exploded for two scores in a loss to the Rams on Oct. 7; he hauled in a pass, tip-toed in the back of the end zone and tumbled over the barricade in London the following week; he juggled a ball against his helmet and then snared it for a score against Detroit on Oct. 28. Improbably, he made veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s presence all but obsolete along the way.
Physically, this was the same guy who spent 15 games on the Seahawks’ practice squad in his rookie season. Same strong hands. Same tackle-breaking ability. Same deceptively solid frame.
Mentally? Emotionally? Not a chance.
“Confidence. Opportunities,” Moore said, listing the differences in his head-turning sophomore season. “I’m more free. I’m having more fun. I learned all the offense and I keep learning every day. It’s getting easier and easier. That just helps me play to the best of my ability.”
Though, to be clear, the 23-year-old’s best is still a long way off.
That’s a pleasant thought for the Seahawks’ coaching staff.
“David’s just going to grow. He’s just going to be more comfortable with experience,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “There’s so many first-time experiences for a new guy, and he really didn’t get through those last year. Next year and the year after that will be big growth years for him. I think we’ll see him just become more comfortable with all the situations that occur.
“That has to do with reading coverage and adjusting the routes and taking advantage of opportunities with techniques that guys are playing on you and all of that kind of stuff. It’s just a lot of stuff.”
Luckily, he doesn’t have to learn all of that alone. Last week, for example, Moore was uncharacteristically absent, failing to catch a pass while receiving just one target in the Seahawks’ 43-16 win over the 49ers. Instead, Jaron Brown, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin all reached the end zone.
Still, Moore continues to revel in the Seattle wide receivers’ collective success.
“We just be chilling, man,” he said with a grin of the wide receiver group. “We’re having fun and enjoying each other. It’s a real brotherhood. It’s all love in our room, and we just embrace it.”
So far, Moore seems to be embracing the opportunities associated with his second season with the Seahawks.
There should be no shortage of confidence when Moore reunites with the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary at CenturyLink Field on Monday night.
“I can’t complain,” Moore said of his emergence in his sophomore season. “It’s been a blessing. It’s been a lot of fun. A lot of memories have been made. I just try to take it day by day and keep living in the moment and getting better with my brothers.”