Seahawks Quick Hits: DK Metcalf won’t let Eagles forget their 2019 draft mistake

Nov 30, 2020, 9:32 PM | Updated: 9:55 pm
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf...
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf had 177 yards against the Eagles in a Week 12 win. (AP)

The Seahawks are 8-3 and hold the top spot in the NFC West after a 23-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12, and for Seattle fans, they should be thanking Philadelphia for being one of eight teams that selected a wide receiver over DK Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft.

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Metcalf was the man against the Eagles for the second time in less than a year, and his play was key for a Seahawks offense that didn’t exactly inspire much in their win in Philadelphia. Let’s look at the second-year receiver’s incredible night and other key aspects of Seattle’s eighth win of 2020.

Eagles “Should have never passed” on Metcalf

There’s a video from ESPN that shows Metcalf’s draft day party, and he’s wearing a shirt on that says “Should have never passed.” That was sending a message to all the teams that were taking players other than Metcalf in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Well, 63 players were chosen that year before the Seahawks drafted Metcalf with the final pick of the second round, including eight other receivers.

The Eagles were one of the teams that drafted a receiver, using the No. 57 overall pick on J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who for his career has 214 receiving yards. Metcalf nearly topped that just in this win on Monday.

Metcalf dominated Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay from start to finish, ending the game with 10 catches for 177 yards. He had 118 yards in the first half alone.

The last time these teams faced off, Metcalf had seven catches for 160 yards and a touchdown to end the Eagles’ season in the playoffs.

Metcalf has thrived with Seattle, leading the league in receiving yards through Week 12 with 1,039 a year after he had 900 yards as a rookie. The Eagles, meanwhile, have failed to draft capable receivers to surround quarterback Carson Wentz over the last few years, including Arcega-Whiteside.

Think Metcalf has forgotten?

It’s well publicized that Metcalf keep a list of the receivers taken before him in 2019 as well as draft reports saying he wouldn’t excel in the NFL. Metcalf was asked about the Eagles passing on him in his postgame press conference and said that it definitely motivates him to play well.

“It’s kind of like coming home,” he said. “A place that had a chance to draft me but they didn’t, so I’ve got to make them pay.”

Metcalf’s dominance against the Eagles is a fun storyline, but in this game it was much needed. Russell Wilson threw for 230 yards total, so all other Seahawks receivers, tight ends and running backs accounted for 53 yards. Wilson completed 22 of 31 passes. Metcalf caught 10 of his 13 targets.

Simply put, Metcalf was essentially the Seahawks’ entire offense against one of at least eight teams that made a huge mistake in which receiver they drafted in 2019. This one had to hurt especially bad for the Eagles and their passionate fanbase.

Jamal Adams’ insane pace

Starting safety Jamal Adams has missed four game due to injury this year, but that hasn’t stopped him from leading the Seahawks in sacks with 6.5 after taking down Wentz in the 23-17 win.

Think about that for a moment. A safety who has played in seven games this season has 6.5 sacks and leads a team that has 31 sacks this year. And again, the guy is a safety!

Adams, naturally, lead all defensive backs in sacks in 2020. He also has a shot to record 10 sacks and surpass the current NFL record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single season, which is eight by former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson. Adams is also likely to do that in, at best, 12 regular season games.

There will always be discussion and debate on whether Adams is worth the two first-round picks the Seahawks gave up to get him, and yes, his coverage hasn’t been early as good as it was last year. But this team needed someone to get after the quarterback in the worst way after recording just 28 sacks last season. And remember, Rasheem Green led all Seahawks with four sacks in 2019. Adams has 2.5 more than that in seven games.

Adams is also laying down some big hits and has impacted the running game, which was a weakness of Seattle’s the last two seasons. Whether he is or will be worth that amount of draft value remains to be seen, but Adams’ presence has been vital for the Seahawks in 2020.

Life since Dunlap is great

The Seahawks shipped a seventh-round pick and a backup guard in B.J. Finney to the Cincinnati Bengals for defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Since making his Seahawks debut in Week 9, Dunlap has 3.5 sacks, with that last half of a sack coming against the Eagles. Again, the Seahawks were led by Green in sacks in 2019 with four. Dunlap has nearly matched that in four games.

Dunlap’s numbers and the pressure he brings is great on its own, but since he has joined the fray, the Seahawks’ pass rush has turned from a huge weakness to a big strength. In the four games Dunlap has played for Seattle, the Seahawks have 19 sacks. Again, they had 28 in 2019.

Jarran Reed has three sacks in that span. Poona Ford has two. Adams has 4.5. The list goes on.

Having a capable pass rusher who defenses are thinking very strongly about double teaming opens things up for Reed, Ford and all the other guys that the Seahawks have on that defensive line, as well as Adams and blitzing linebackers K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. Wright, who isn’t known for getting after the quarterback, has two sacks since Dunlap started playing for the Seahawks.

If the Seahawks are going to make a run in the playoffs, they need to pressure top NFC quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, otherwise their suspect pass defense will have troubles. Just look at last season’s divisional round loss to Rodgers and the Packers. He was sacked only two times for a net loss of eight yards.

Chris Carson’s return

It was a good thing that starting running back Chris Carson was back in action against the Eagles after missing four games with a foot injury.

Last week, it was clear that having a capable back in Carlos Hyde was a big deal for the Seahawks’ offense in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. Getting Carson back would be an even bigger boost, it seemed.

And while his stat line of eight carries for 41 yards to go along with two catches and 18 receiving yards may not stand out, the Eagles bottled up Hyde for 22 yards on 15 carries, so Carson was the only reason Seattle had some semblance of a running attack.

Where Carson’s presence really stood out, though, was on his 16-yard touchdown run.

The Seahawks had just taken an intentional grounding penalty to make it a long second-and-goal. Rather than passing it to make up those yards, Carson took the handoff, bulldozed his way down the field and ended up in the end zone for one of the Seahawks’ two touchdowns.

It was a run that encapsulated what Pete Carroll loves about Carson and what he loves about running the football. And with five regular season games left and likely at least one playoff game, Carson looking like that could be key down the stretch for the Seahawks as they look to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2014.

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Seahawks Quick Hits: DK Metcalf won’t let Eagles forget their 2019 draft mistake