The Seattle Seahawks‘ second-year wide receiver wasn’t available to reporters after Wilson threw three interceptions in their overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week, but he was back in front of the camera Sunday after catching two of the quarterback’s four touchdown passes against the San Francisco 49ers.
This time, with a new signoff.
“The ‘Russ for MVP’ train is back on the tracks,” Metcalf said. “Let’s go.”
Wilson’s bounce-back performance plus a strong first half from Seattle’s embattled defense were enough for a 37-27 victory at CenturyLink Field. It keeps the Seahawks (6-1) atop the NFC West with a one-game lead over the Cardinals (5-2), who had their bye a week after beating Seattle in overtime in Week 7.
After some uncharacteristic mistakes against Arizona that led to Wilson’s throwing three interceptions for only the third time in his nine-year career, Wilson said bluntly that he has to be better. He was better on Sunday. Wilson completed 27 of 37 passes for 261 yards and no interceptions, teaming up with Metcalf to do most of his damage.
Metcalf caught Wilson’s first two touchdown passes and finished with 12 catches for 161 yards on 15 targets, all career highs. Wideout David Moore and rookie running back DeeJay Dallas were on the receiving end of the other two scoring passes. Dallas ran for another touchdown while making his first career start.
“Russell played terrific today,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He knew how this game was going to go; we had to throw the ball quick, and a lot of short stuff and all that. … He did a great job throughout the day.”
After taking a back seat last week while Tyler Lockett turned in the second-most productive receiving game in franchise history, Metcalf got his turn Sunday. As he did on his chase-down of Budda Baker to prevent a pick-six, he showed his speed again Sunday when he turned up the sideline after catching a crossing route and outran the 49ers’ defense for a 46-yard touchdown. He showed his strength on his second score, hanging to make a contested catch on a bullet from Wilson in the end zone.
“What a fantastic game he played,” Carroll said of Metcalf. “Just so tough and so physical. Just a dominant player out there today with a couple touchdowns and just big plays, one right after another.”
The Seahawks were without Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring) Sunday, leaving Dallas and Travis Homer as their only available tailbacks. With Homer hobbling on a bruised knee, Dallas got the majority of the work. He finished with 41 rushing yards on 18 carries and caught five passes for 17 yards.
“He played an unbelievable game,” Wilson said of Dallas. “I thought he was lights-out. He was very calm in the huddle. He was on top of his protections. He was very efficient in the run game, caught the ball well. Just a special player, and I’m glad he’s on our team and stepped up.”
DK Metcalf describes how Bobby Wagner told him to wear the suit he has on, plus how Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign is back on track.
Wilson’s 26 TD passes is one shy of Tom Brady‘s record from 2007 for the most through seven games in NFL history. Wilson is now 32-8 following an in-season loss. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that .800 winning percentage is the best by any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era.
While Wilson has been leading the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, Seattle’s defense has been lagging well behind. The Seahawks entered Sunday having allowed the most yards through six games in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau data.
But even without Jamal Adams (groin) for the fourth consecutive game and other key pieces missing on defense, Seattle held San Francisco’s offense in check until a late rally made things at least somewhat interesting.
The Seahawks allowed only 116 yards in the first half and got two takeaways, including an interception of Jimmy Garoppolo by nickelback D.J. Reed Jr. to set up Seattle’s first touchdown. Reed, waived by the 49ers in August, was making his Seahawks debut after being activated off the non-football injury list on Saturday.
Bobby Wagner, Seattle’s All-Pro middle linebacker, delivered a vintage performance with 11 tackles and two sacks as defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. sent more blitzes after Garoppolo than he did last week against Kyler Murray.
The Seahawks got pressure on San Francisco’s quarterbacks, Garoppolo and Nick Mullens, on 17 of their 45 dropbacks (38%). That’s the highest pressure percentage by a Seahawks defense since Week 6 of 2018 against the Raiders, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Rookie defensive end Alton Robinson had the Seahawks’ other sack. They entered Sunday with only nine in six games.
“I thought Kenny did a really nice job of adjusting, to let them have more opportunities to see if they could create problems, like sending them and doing the things that we did,” Carroll said. “Bobby was phenomenal today. He had a couple sacks, but he had three or four other rushes, too, where he was a factor and bothered the quarterback. … He’s a great leader. He never said anything to this team that he wouldn’t ask of himself, and he came through in a great way and kind of solidified what a stud leader that he is.”
Carroll said he was inspired by how the Seahawks played despite so many key players missing due to injuries. In addition to Adams at safety, their defense was without cornerback Shaquill Griffin, nickelback Ugo Amadi and end Benson Mayowa.
Carroll said he expects Adams to be back for next week’s game against the Buffalo Bills. The Seahawks should also have Carlos Dunlap available after acquiring the Pro Bowl pass-rusher in a trade last week with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We’re getting there, and we’re going to keep better,” Carroll said of Seattle’s defense. “I know I’m going to keep saying it to you, but it’s because it’s gonna happen.”