Tyler Lockett turned his expanded role as the new No. 2 receiver into his most productive game of the season: seven catches, 130 yards and a 57-yard touchdown catch.
Before Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett started this week, he tried not to make too much of his new opportunity.
Lockett replaced Jermaine Kearse as Seattle’s No. 2 receiver this week for the first time this season, which meant more playing time and the potential for more targets. But Lockett allowed his mind to zoom out, diminishing the pressure by focusing on the big picture.
“I talked to my family about it, and they told me to just go out there and play,” Lockett said. “Just do what you’ve been doing. Don’t make it any bigger than it is. For me, I just went back to the basics. I went back to my faith and the reason why I started playing this game in the first place.
“I actually talked to one of my friends, and he told me how much I inspired him. I just went back to why I play this game. I have so many people looking up to me and stuff like that, so I just wanted to be able to cloud everything away and play free.”
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Lockett turned his expanded role into his most productive game of the season: seven catches on eight targets, 130 yards receiving, a 57-yard touchdown catch that sealed the game in the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks decided to make a change at receiver this week after Kearse and quarterback Russell Wilson have struggled to find a connection. Lockett played ahead of Kearse on most two-receiver formations, while Kearse still played heavily in sets featuring three or more receivers.
“We just want to see him more,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll explained about Lockett. “He’s been so good, we just want to see more out of him and see if he could continue to create impact. And he certainly did, so it was a good decision.”
Some of the criticism of Kearse is warranted; he hasn’t made as many big catches as he did in previous seasons. But some of it has also been overstated; purely looking at his targets ignores the quality of some of those targets.
Either way, the Seahawks wanted Lockett to provide exactly what he did against the Rams: an explosive threat deep, a crisp route runner, a guy who can turn a quick pass in the flat into a 12-yard gain.
“He’s one of the toughest guys to cover just because he does it right all the time,” Wilson said.
Lockett’s ascension the past few games has been one of the most promising developments for an offense that too often still lulls. Lockett was hampered by a knee injury earlier this season. He wasn’t as quick and as dangerous, and it was frustrating.
“I had to continue to embrace this opportunity that I do have,” Lockett said. “I still see kids inspired by me. I still see kids wearing my jersey. I still see kids wanting to talk to me. So at the end of the day, I just had to start to see the bigger picture. I couldn’t run away from this platform that God had given me. I had to be able to embrace it.”