Rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf recaps experience of first Seahawks game
DK Metcalf was beaming inside the locker room after his NFL debut.
And not just over his exquisite choice in game-day attire.
The rookie wide receiver continues to play, act, say—and dress—like someone wiser than his 21 years and now one professional game.
And definitely not like someone who had knee surgery 19 days earlier.
Metcalf was grinning over his mother Tanya and father Terrence flying across the country to see him debut with four catches on six targets for 89 yards in the Seahawks’ 21-20 escape past the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener at CenturyLink Field Sunday.
“It was just a blessing to be out there in front of all the fans,” Metcalf said of another loud, sold-out crowd of Seahawks people. “This was my first real NFL game, and it was amazing.”
Two plays stood out—and extended his wowing spring and summer as Seattle’s second-round choice who has been more than the team bargained for when it traded up in April’s draft to get him.
His 42-yard reception down the left sideline past flailing cornerback William Jackson late in the second quarter against a Bengals blitz got the Seahawks from their side of the field to the Cincinnati 13-yard line.
Chris Carson scored three plays later on a bullish, 10-yard catch and run to put the Seahawks ahead 14-10.
Metcalf’s most impressive play came at the end of the third quarter. It showed he’s ready for the long season ahead.
Specifically, the rookie showed he already understands how to read and react to Wilson’s improvisation and scrambling. That’s a must for any receiver in Seattle’s offense, which remains affected by the line’s inability to protect Wilson in long yardage when defenses know he must throw. Cincinnati sacked Wilson four times and hit him nine other times in 24 drop backs Sunday.
Third and 5 at the Seattle, Seahawks trailing 17-14 late in the third quarter. The Bengals do something else, rushing only two defensive linemen and dropping nine into coverage. Wilson did what he usually does, scrambling around the pocket and toward to line to buy more time to throw.
Metcalf had a slant route, short. He saw Wilson run so he did, too, straight down the hash marks on an impromptu go route past Cincinnati’s B.W. Webb.. Wilson softly lofted a pass over Webb in stride onto Metcalf’s hands. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound rookie out-fought Webb for the ball—just plain wanted it more, really. Metcalf then held on to the ball through a low it from a late-arriving safety for a 25-yard gain.
One Germain Ifedi holding penalty later, Wilson threw 44 yards to Tyler Lockett for what proved to be the winning points, on the first play of the fourth quarter.
All the extra time in practices, plus the days in July of Wilson and Metcalf working together starting at 5:30 a.m. on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, paid off in their first real game together.
“Scrambles are key and it’s part of our game. We can be the best in the world at that,” Wilson said, “and there’s no reason why not to. It’s going to happen, whether it’s in the red zone, middle of the field, wherever we are, and something that’s always been advantageous for us.
“I think he did a really good job. ...(I) kind of stepped up and kind of slid. And, sure enough, he was kind of on a slant route on the back side and next thing you know, he saw me moving so he turned it upfield.
“His understanding of the game is up there. ...His knowledge of the game, he’s really sharp.”
Metcalf credited coach Pete Carroll for just the right touch moments before kickoff of his first NFL game.
Metcalf wasn’t as cool before Sunday’s game as he looked in his retro Steve Largent Seahawks jersey after it.
“Right before the game, Coach Carroll sat beside me and said ‘Just remember, it’s just another football game. It’s still football,’” Metcalf said.
“He calmed me down when he told me that.”
Metcalf’s day wasn’t perfect. He was called for pass interference for mauling Bengals cornerback William Jackson to the ground before a cut inside on an incomplete pass in the second quarter. In the third period officials caught him holding . He was called for holding during running back Chris Carson’s run after a short catch on third down. Cincinnati declined both penalties.
“A good start,” Carroll said. “It was a good opener for him, other than the penalties. He did fine. He made some tough plays. Russ got the ball to him on a couple, the big bomb and the one down the middle—I don’t know how to explain that pass, but it was a great grab for him under duress.
“That’s a really good start for him. He’s ready to go.”
Ready, it appears to be the Seahawks’ starting split end, the huge, downfield target for Wilson Carroll has coveted by never consistently had. Test number two is next Sunday at Pittsburgh.
“I thought DK was special,” Wilson said. “He fought for the football. He was special. It’s exciting to for him to come in and make some great plays in the first game. He almost got to 100 yards, I think, and everything else. He looked great.
He’s going to keep growing. It’s just one game. You’ve just got to stay the course.”