clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

DK Metcalf’s success comes at the expense of Tyler Lockett

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Seattle Seahawks At Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

DK Metcalf is the talk of the Pacific Northwest town this week, deservedly, as he caught the game-winning touchdown over the Minnesota Vikings. In a year and a quarter he’s done some crazy things for the Seattle Seahawks:

Russell Wilson, meanwhile, is often praised for his ability to spread the ball around and find multiple receivers.

Which makes a trend thus far in 2020 a bit awkward. Over the past two weeks, Tyler Lockett has been almost obsolete.

Metcalf is an emerging superstar, but it’s resulted in a statistically weak Lockett. Here’s the receiving splits the last couple games.

Excluding running backs, Wilson’s thrown to six, six, and seven different receivers over the last three games. At first glance, Lockett looks to be squarely in the mix, and he recorded six receptions to Metcalf’s 10 in Weeks 4 and 5. But those catches are on nine targets compared to Metcalf’s 17.

But it’s not just the timeshare that’s confusing. It’s the timing. On the final game-winning touchdown drive, Metcalf got both fourth-down passes. Lockett received two targets (of his five on the entire game). Both were extremely telling.

First, Wilson found Lockett on one of his patented escape-and-throw moves. It was especially notable because it hadn’t really happened much. Considering you can see Lockett break towards the sideline at the exact moment Wilson left the pocket, it added frustration to the half-dozen times Wilson sat in the pocket for five seconds not doing that. Wilson to Lockett on scrambles has been one of the best in the business for years, and it immediately felt odd that we haven’t seen much.

Second, Lockett received one touchdown attempt from the fated six-yard line on the final drive. Lockett couldn’t complete the catch, and two observations were available. The pass was high and outside, a combination of either Wilson’s rain-addled accuracy or familiarity with a bigger target? Next, the astute analyst might note that Wilson threw the next three passes to DK Metcalf.

If you’re not convinced yet, maybe try the drive before? Remember, it’s still Vikings 26, Seahawks 21 at this point. Seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. Wilson went Metcalf-Olsen-Metcalf-interception.

It’s completely justifiable if DK Metcalf is the deep threat, the clutch the receiver, the WR1 on this team. Totally fine. But it cannot mean that Lockett goes halves without targets, receives primarily check downs, or the sparse scramble drill. The broadcasters were so proud of the Minnesota receivers and their ridiculous PFF ranking. If a vanilla cupcake like Kirk Cousins can figure out how to use two receivers then Russell Wilson certainly should be able to do so.

Tyler Lockett still has the second-best catch rate in the entire league this year. The dude is good at football catches. But Russell Wilson needs to ensure Metcalf’s success does not continue to result in a 42-yard average for his three-year top target.

I sincerely hope the offensive minds put intentional thought over the bye week into ensuring this is an actual two-receiver threat. Because the gaps on this team at the moment are still too large for even DK Metcalf to carry all year.