DK Metcalf probably didn’t need any more motivation to play in Philadelphia. He already was sufficiently fired up to prove to the Eagles they made a mistake by passing over him in the 2019 NFL draft.
But then Metcalf got a pregame visit from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz before their Monday-night game, and that only served to provoke the Seahawks’ star receiver even more. Schwartz was the Detroit coach when Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron, was terrorizing the NFL, and Schwartz told Metcalf he wasn’t at Johnson’s level yet.
“That made me mad,” Metcalf said. “In my mind, I’m not trying to be Megatron. I’m trying to be me.”
Being Metcalf was plenty good enough Monday night. The Seahawks’ second-year receiver had another breakout game in Philadelphia on a prime-time stage, posting a career-high 177 yards on 10 catches in the Seahawks’ 23-17 victory over the Eagles.
Metcalf embarrassed Eagles veteran cornerback Darius Slay, who shadowed Metcalf virtually the entire night and later admitted to Philadelphia reporters he had “by far” the worst game of his NFL career.
“I mean, if I was a D-coordinator I wouldn’t say that (to Metcalf),” said Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, who played with Slay in Detroit for five seasons. “He poked the bear, and then Slay had to go out and end up having to deal with that bear. So, hey, Slay needs to blame the D-coordinator for that.”
Schwartz, when relayed Metcalf’s version of their conversation after the game, said he was attempting to pay his respects to Metcalf — saying Metcalf was the closest thing to Megatron he’s seen in the NFL.
Metcalf responded on Twitter by posting a meme of Michael Jordan: “ … and I took that personally.”
Yes, he did. And not for the first time.
It was just 11 months ago Metcalf set an NFL rookie record with nine catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia. Metcalf said again Monday night that he hasn’t forgotten that the Eagles passed on him in the second round of the 2019 draft, selecting former Stanford receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside seven spots ahead of him.
The Eagles, surely, are kicking themselves for that. Arcega-Whiteside has 12 total catches for 214 yards in 23 games for the Eagles.
“It’s kind of like coming home — you know, a place that had a chance to draft me but didn’t, so now I got to make them pay,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf and Slay mixed it up almost immediately Monday night — some pushing and shoving, and then a personal-foul penalty on Slay after a play. On the next play, Philly’s Malik Jackson was then assessed a personal-foul penalty for a blatant late hit from behind on Metcalf.
“I’m not going to back down from nothing,” Metcalf said.
The Eagles’ attempts to fluster Metcalf obviously had the exact wrong effect.
“You got to try to do something, you know,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said with a chuckle. “They can’t get in his head; he’s hard to cover. In my opinion, he is unmatchable. He just can do everything.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll praised Metcalf’s poise in those confrontations.
“DK is doing his thing,” Carroll said. “He’s making it known that he’s not just out there catching footballs — he’s doing the whole game and he’s blocking and giving good effort and being tough and all that.”
Metcalf’s total could have been even higher if he hadn’t dropped a catchable pass in the left side of the end zone in the fourth quarter. No matter. Metcalf has surpassed 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, making him the fastest (11 games) receiver in Seahawks history to reach the 1,000-yard mark. The previous mark was 13 games (1979, 1985 Steve Largent and 2004 Darrell Jackson).
Metcalf’s 1,039 receiving yards are the most in the NFL this season.