Tyler Lockett didn’t take the bait.
Did he make much of it that Arizona sent its best cornerback, Patrick Peterson, to mostly defend DK Metcalf on Sunday night?
“I think the coaches just had a game plan of thinking that Pat P. might follow him around,’’ Lockett said as diplomatically as possible.
That game plan was to instead toss it to Lockett early and often — even when Peterson might be on him, as was the case on the first play of the game when Russell Wilson dropped back, and with all day to throw, threw a dime for a 34-yard completion to Lockett, who reached with his left hand while heavily covered by Peterson to make the catch and set up Seattle’s first touchdown.
It was the start of a career day for Lockett as he finished with 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns.
The catches and yards were the most in Seahawks history other than when Steve Largent caught 15 passes for 261 yards against Detroit in 1987 during the NFL strike (Largent crossed the strike line to play in what turned out to be the final weekend of the strike that season).
Lockett had only six catches for 83 yards in Seattle’s previous two games while Metcalf shined, leading to some discussion of which is the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Here’s the thing — they both can be, as Sunday night showed.
While Seattle lost 37-34 in overtime in a defeat that exposed all kinds of defensive shortcomings — and that the Seahawks maybe still need to turn to their running game to close things out, especially with such a leaky defense — Lockett proved anew that Seattle has two receivers as capable on any given day of being as good as any in the NFL.
Lockett’s previous career bests were 13 receptions against Tampa Bay in an overtime game last year, and 154 yards in a loss the Saints, also a year ago (he also had three touchdowns earlier this season against Dallas).
With Metcalf coming into the game ranked second in the NFL in receiving yards per game at 99.2, Lockett said the Seahawks knew the Cardinals would likely send Peterson at him.
“You just adjust based off what they do,’’ Lockett said.
That adjustment was to avoid forcing it to Metcalf if it wasn’t there — Metcalf had just five targets, finishing with two catches for 23 yards. He’d had at least 92 yards in the previous five games, the only player in the NFL to have that many yards in every game.
But Lockett didn’t just catch easy passes.
Besides the first play, he also had a diving, sliding 48-yard catch of a moon ball from Wilson for a TD near the end of the first half, and then the toe-tapping 3-yard TD near the back of the end zone that was initially ruled incomplete in the fourth quarter before a review ruled it good.
Lockett also made a crunching block on a play that appeared to win the game — a short pass to Metcalf that he turned and ran into the end zone in overtime before it was called back due to a holding penalty on David Moore.
But it was his final TD, which put Seattle ahead 34-24 with 6:44 left and seemed as if it might end the game, that most impressed Carroll/
Carroll gambled what was Seattle’s final time out to challenge the play but said: “We figured because Tyler did it, he was in bounds. Before we could even see the replay, that he would have figured that out, and he did. I still haven’t seen the play clearly, but I know what he was doing. He was dragging his toes and he just made an extraordinary catch.
“I mean, it’s one thing to make a catch like that sometime in your life, but to do it every time you get a chance, it’s pretty crazy, and particularly under pressure and the stress of the game and the situation and all that. He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal football player.’’