One of the big questions leading into Sunday’s regular season opener against Cincinnati — how would Tyler Lockett respond in his first game as the team’s No. 1 receiver? — yielded a mixed answer.
Lockett had just one catch and only two targets — and was not targeted until the fourth quarter.
But he made his targets count — the first went for a 44-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter that proved to be the winning score in Seattle’s 21-20 victory.
The other came later in the quarter when Russell Wilson hit Lockett with a perfect pass for what would have been about a 35-yard gain. Lockett dropped it.
“I should have caught that pass,’’ Lockett said. “I missed it.’’
Then he smiled and said “at least I got the perfect passer rating out of the way.’’
That’s a reference to Wilson having a perfect rating of 158.3 last year when throwing to Lockett.
It doesn’t figure to be as easy this year, though, with Lockett now getting a greater share of the focus of opponent’s attention now that Doug Baldwin is gone as the lack of early targets showed.
To be fair, Wilson threw only 20 passes in the game, so there weren’t a lot of targets to go around for everybody.
But through three quarters, Wilson had thrown 17 passes and none went to Lockett.
Lockett admitted he was frustrated early on to not be a bigger part of the action.
“I think for anyone it’s frustrating,’’ he said. “It’s more frustrating just because you go into the first game and Cincinnati did a lot of stuff against me that I didn’t think they were going to do.’’
Specifically, Lockett said he was double teamed often.
Asked the last time he saw consistent double coverage he said “college.’’
“They did a lot of good things, especially against me, that I’ve never seen before,’’ Lockett said.
Lockett tried to view it as a positive, saying “it was pretty good just to be able to experience that and see what it might be like down the road.’’
He could also take some solace that his being double-covered helped open some things up for rookie DK Metcalf, who set a Seahawks record for a rookie receiver in his first game with 89 yards.
And Lockett said he thought he adjusted to it better as the game wore on, as evidenced by being open for the TD and the pass that he dropped.
“I stay in that good place and just knew that when my time came I just made sure that I made that play,’’ he said of the winning touchdown.
Wilson said it was obvious that the Bengals “gave him a little extra attention.’’
But he also cautioned everyone not to read too much into it, noting that the Seahawks ran only 45 plays.
“There’s going to be times where they are going to double certain guys,’’ Wilson said. “But the good thing is we have another great receiver over there and another great receiver in the slot and another great running back right there and that’s a good thing for us.’’
And Wilson’s point is valid — opponents may have to shift some attention to Metcalf which could again then open things up for Lockett.
As for Lockett, he said he understood adjusting is all part of life in the NFL.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “But for me, it’s all about keeping my head down and working regardless of the outcome and regardless of the results of how a person play me. When I got out there, a lot of people are going to play me different ways and it’s all about being able to observe the game, learning what they’re trying to do and being able to take advantage of it.”