RENTON -- The Seahawks were anything but bashful this summer in expressing their excitement over what DK Metcalf could become even in his rookie season with the team.
Through the first nine games of his NFL career, Metcalf is showing that he can be a big-time receiver in Seattle.
Metcalf notched the first 100-yard receiving game of his career with 123 yards on six catches and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Metcalf also caught a critical two-point conversion to help gloss over one of Jason Myers' missed kicks on Sunday.
"DK played great today," head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "It was his best game he’s had. You know when he catches the ball on the crossing route, he’s gone. That was really exciting to see that. He’s going to be a big factor when we go down the stretch here.
Metcalf's 53-yard touchdown pass gave Seattle a 34-27 lead with just over four minutes left to play. The lead wouldn't hold as Tampa Bay drove for a tying score with 46 seconds remaining. However, Metcalf continued to make big plays to help Seattle win the game. An 18-yard crossing route on the final drive of regulation saw Metcalf toss cornerback Jamel Dean off of him so he could pick up more yards and get out of bounds to stop the clock. Myers would miss a 40-yard field goal that forced the game to go overtime so Metcalf needed to come through again. A 29-yard back-shoulder strike from Russell Wilson on third-and-6 moved Seattle to the Tampa 6-yard line. Two plays later, Wilson hit Jacob Hollister for the game-winning touchdown.
"He was clutch," Wilson said. "He was lights out, told him, hey, be ready, you may help us to win the game. And sure enough he did, and he was just lights out. Just tough catches, great speed, great acceleration, just running away from guys. He’s been a star for us all year, so far, and hopefully we get to keep it that way.
"In terms of the rookies, he’s definitely leading the charge in the sense of his approach to the game. And that’s not something that you just get. It’s something that you have, it’s something that you believe in, it’s something that you work at, it’s something that you prepare for and he’s been tremendous with that.
Metcalf is already having a big year. He's caught 29 passes for 525 yards and five touchdowns through the first five games of the season. He has a chance to set franchise records for a rookie receiver in at least two of those categories. Joey Galloway is the only Seattle rookie to ever post a 1,000-yard season. He caught 67 passes for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns in 1995 for Seattle. The 67 receptions and 1,039 yards are franchise highs for a rookie. Daryl Turner's 10 touchdowns in 1984 represent the franchise record for receiving touchdowns by a rookie.
Metcalf is on pace for 52 receptions, 933 yards and nine touchdowns this year. While Galloway's receptions mark may be out of reach, Metcalf would appear to be within striking distance of the other two records over the final seven weeks of the season.
"He just continues to do things really well," Carroll said. "People who doubted that he would be a good football player might wonder is that just lucky or whatever. He’s got the presence of mind. He’s a real competitor. He’s the real deal. We’ve been around enough young guys, we know what they’re like when they come through the process. He’s not typical. He’s atypical. He’s well ahead of the curve, in his smarts and awareness and savvy. You saw it. I’m glad you pointed it out. That’s the guy that we have on our team. He’s going to have a big year."
Pete Carroll: "No expectations" placed upon Josh Gordon as he gets up to speed in Seattle:
DK Metcalf will have a new teammate in the Seahawks' wide receiver room when the team returns to practice on Thursday to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers.
Josh Gordon was claimed off waivers by Seattle on Friday and passed his physical with the team over the weekend. Gordon had been released from the injured reserve list by the New England Patriots on Thursday and the Seahawks were reportedly the only team to place a claim on the former All-Pro receiver.
Head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that Gordon has been cleared to practice when the team takes the field again on Thursday. Their normal Wednesday-Friday practice week is shifted back a day with the Monday night game against the 49ers upcoming.
“Yeah, he’s been cleared to go,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to go, so Thursday when we get rolling again, he’ll be going. He’s in the building, studying and all that, getting ready. We’ll see how it goes.
“I’m telling you, I’m just waiting to see him. I’ve seen him on film. He looks pretty special. He’s got a good history of making plays and all that, but I want to see him when he mixes with our guys and really just take it one step at a time with no expectations of how much he would contribute or play or whatever. I’m just going to see what happens.”
With the success of Metcalf and Tyler Lockett this season, those two are clearly Seattle's top two receiving options. Gordon will have a chance to create a role beyond that. Jaron Brown, David Moore and Malik Turner have had occasional flashes of success but none of the three have established themselves as a clear go-to option.
Beyond the 100-yard games of Metcalf and Lockett, tight ends Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister, and running back Chris Carson also out-gained their fellow receiving counterparts against the Buccaneers. Moore caught two passes for 18 yards while Brown and Turner didn't record a catch, though Turner had a sizable gain negated due to a holding penalty.
What exactly Gordon can bring to the table now is uncertain. He's had a fabulous track record when he's been healthy and able to play. However, there have been many reasons why Gordon hasn't played as much as expected through the years. Personal issues and suspensions have kept Gordon from playing through a large portion of his prime years. Now Carroll and the Seahawks are giving him another shot and hoping to strike gold.
“He’s really clear, excited to be here,” Carroll said of his conversations with Gordon. “Had a good conversation about a lot of topics in a short time. He met with the coaches and all that. He’s bright, sharp, ready to learn, humble. Looking forward to making something happen to help the club. He seemingly had his sights on getting here; he was hoping to get here. So that’s a good thing.”
“I’ve said for a long time, I’ll always give a guy a second chance. Sometimes when you do, remarkable things happen. So in my way. I look at this as maybe a second opportunity for him. He’s probably had a couple already. So we’re going to give him a shot to go and see what he can do.”
-- Tight end Luke Willson was the only injury of significance coming out of Sunday's win over the Buccaneers. Willson was taken to the locker room for a rib injury before returning to the game in the second half.
"Luke was banged up yesterday in that game and made it through it in an enormously courageous fashion. He was hurt and just stuck it out anyway," Carroll said.
Ed Dickson can come back from the injured reserve list and would help add some more depth to the position if Willson can't play this week because of the injury. With Seattle currently carrying eight wide receivers, Dickson's promotion could come at the expense of one of the team's receivers.
“He says he is (playing). I believe Luke. Whatever he says, I’m going with," Carroll said.
-- No decision has yet been made on whether guard Phil Haynes or defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas will be added to the active roster from the physically unable to perform list this week.
"Just wait and see. None of that is decided yet," Carroll said.
The 21-day practice period for Haynes and Christmas expires on Tuesday. They've been able to practice the last three weeks as they try to work back into the mix after a sports hernia and back injuries, respectively, sidelined the pair throughout training camp. The PUP list kept the players from being able to practice until after the first six games of the season had elapsed.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 03: Wide receiver DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a two-point conversion in the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CenturyLink Field on November 3, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks beat the Buccaneers 40-34 in overtime. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)