Offense. Defense on big plays. Penalties. The stupid penalties. The fact that it was Tuesday.
But amidst it all, DK Metcalf was pissed at Russell Wilson. Some of it was because it turns out Metcalf is an emotional volcano. Much of it was justifiable, because Wilson left him hanging big time that game.
But it also spoke of frustration that’s been brewing for some time, and if Wilson is not careful he’s in danger of losing Metcalf. It’ll be something intangible, and I’m not sure what. Respect? Trust? Whatever it is, Metcalf is a hyper-competitive and slightly arrogant superstar who saw immediate success for two years before the worst season for either of these professionals.
DK Metcalf had 8 TDs through Week 8; he was among the top-5 in the NFL in most catching numbers.
Since then, it’s not good.
DK Metcalf doesn't have a TD in the last six games. Hasn't had 60 or more yards receiving in the last seven. There's lots of reasons for it, but that's obviously been a really big issue for Seattle's offense this season.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) December 22, 2021
The reasons may be many, as Bob Condotta indicates, but the on-field results are clear. And I’m unfortunately not talking about the yards or receptions. Metcalf now displays visible frustration towards his quarterback’s shortcomings in a way that he previously held back. That doesn’t bode well for the future.
Here’s five shots from Tuesday’s game alone. He’s been doing this for weeks.
This is the worst one. For those keeping track, this is the third time Metcalf has clearly beaten Jalen Ramsey deep. He has absolutely nothing to show for it.
Russell Wilson is Losing DK Metcalf (1/6):— Tyler Alsin (@TylerjAlsin) December 22, 2021
#6 is the worst pic.twitter.com/TYNRi0CN8O
The last throw is of note because Ramsey got absolutely roasted but did have safety help deep. Wilson couldn’t have aired it out much more, as you can see the safety enter the screen at the end of the play. There was a small window for more, not much. More likely, what Wilson needed to do was simply get it there sooner, pull the ball down and have a tighter trajectory.
Regardless, Metcalf demonstrated his disgust all over the field Tuesday night. This is not a good look for the pair in their third year together. They’re both at fault. Wilson’s consistently playing as bad as he ever has, and Metcalf can’t seem to take it. On the other side of the field though, Tyler Lockett is having - while not a career year - an extremely good one. 2021 should end up being his most receiving yards, while being Metcalf’s fewest. The connection remains with one receiver, but not the other.
I don’t know what’s wrong. It’s not avoidance. For six straight games, Metcalf has averaged eight targets per game and caught less than half of them. If you’re still stuck in 2019, those aren’t drops. Pro Football Reference has Metcalf with only 2 drops on the year. They’re bad balls, and Metcalf’s attitude is getting worse.
To set something straight - this does not give the impression of any of the alleged tension surrounding Wilson’s younger years. This is not Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin, feeling like they reached some height wherein they could look down upon the upstart Russell Wilson. This is entirely the picture of a receiver who can’t understand why his quarterback suddenly can’t get him the ball.
It’s a problem simply because as this team careens towards whatever chaotic direction it’s going to take next year, Metcalf’s status normally would have been a given. Any question about the future would start with the answer “Well obviously we’re going to keep and rebuild DK Metcalf...”
But right now this quarterback-to-receiver combo is a net neutral for the team statistically, it’s not getting better, and the atmosphere is trending worse. Somebody’s ego has got to give if they want to get this thing back on track. Both, really, but for entirely different reasons.
Seattle just cannot have their best two offensive players looking like this in the future.