DK Metcalf wowed the world last week with his sprint to catch up to Arizona’s Budda Baker and deny a seemingly sure-thing 98-yard interception return for a touchdown.
A play he turned in Sunday that proved critical in Seattle’s 37-27 win over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field might not have been as jaw-dropping. But to his coaches and teammates, Metcalf’s 46-yard catch-and-run that gave Seattle its first touchdown might in its own way have been just as impressive.
“When he caught the ball on the crossing route, I started screaming that they weren’t going to get him, right when he was way over there, because he’s just too fast,’’ coach Pete Carroll said via Zoom. “He just circled the whole defense and put it in the end zone, and I don’t even think they touched him. It was a great play.’’
Metcalf, lined up on the left side, caught a short crossing route about 10 yards downfield, then continued across the field, juking past San Francisco linebacker Dre Greenlaw and turning up the sideline, finding a clear path thanks to a block from teammate Jacob Hollister and sprinting into the end zone.
“That play he made where he caught the ball today and ran it across the field and ran into the end zone, there is nobody faster in the world than him on the field,’’ said quarterback Russell Wilson. “He’s just pretty special in that sense.’’
Metcalf downplayed it all a bit later, first shouting out Hollister.
“He blocked his butt off on the sideline long enough for me to turn the corner,” Metcalf said. “I saw a lot of open grass and I just took off running. I saw a linebacker, and once I passed him, he couldn’t stop me, then Jake had my back and led me to the promised land.”
It was the beginning to a most-enchanting day for Metcalf, who finished with career highs of 12 receptions and 161 yards a week after being held to two receptions for 23 yards in a 37-34 loss to Arizona.
Metcalf, of course, could have had the winning touchdown against Arizona if not for a holding call on David Moore that Carroll said could have just as easily not been called, and his whole day would have looked differently.
And then there was that chasedown of Baker, which figures to go down as one of the top plays of this or any NFL season.
“The play really doesn’t matter in my mind because we lost,’’ Metcalf said. “My teammates really spoke highly of me and gave me a lot of congratulations. In my mind that is something that I was supposed to do, not just an epic play that the world just saw.’’
Metcalf was held down against Arizona in part because the Cardinals sicced perennial All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson on him. That meant it only made sense for the Seahawks to instead look to Lockett, who responded with 15 receptions for 200 yards, each also career highs.
That helped prove Seattle’s point that opponents can’t stop both players, and if they focus on one, the other will thrive.
That proved true again Sunday. Lockett had just four receptions for 33 yards. But it hardly mattered with Metcalf’s outburst, much of which came against 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, a matchup Seattle appeared to determine going in would be pretty favorable.
“Tyler actually told me on the field, ‘Man, we have the best duo in the league,’ ’’ Metcalf said. “We feed off each other very well. It doesn’t help (the opponents) when David (Moore) and Freddie Swain come in the game. They just bring that much more energy to the field. I just believe that we have the best and closest (position) room in the league.”
They undoubtedly have a rising star in Metcalf, who now has 36 receptions for 680 yards and seven touchdowns, already tying the touchdowns he had a year ago and on pace to shatter all of his rookie numbers. If he keeps at his current rate, Metcalf will finish with 82 receptions for 1,554 yards and 16 touchdowns.
For the record, the yards and touchdowns would each be team records. Steve Largent holds the record for receiving yards in a season with 1,287 in 1985 and Doug Baldwin the TD record with 14 in 2015.
“I don’t think there is anybody better,’’ Wilson said of Metcalf. “He’s only in his second year, he’s only 22. So I’m look forward to playing a lot of years with him.’’
Metcalf also showed he’s willing to mix it up some, at one point getting into a little bit of a shouting match with 49ers safety Jimmie Ward.
But if Metcalf proved hard to defend by the 49ers all day, he proved equally hard to pin down by the media as to what transpired with Ward.
“I don’t know if I can disclose that information,’’ he said with a smile. “Just two competitive guys talking smack to each other. I don’t know who started it, I cannot remember. The game was chippy all day. Just two competitive teams going at it.”