Quick Hits: Seahawks get 3 seed and host Rams, WRs set franchise records
The Seahawks’ 2020 regular season is now in the books after a 26-23 Week 17 win over the San Francisco 49ers gets Seattle to a 12-4 record.
It wasn’t pretty, and Seattle getting to 26 points seemed impossible after the third quarter, but with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, the Seahawks got the win and made some history on that side of the ball along the way.
After beating the 49ers and with other games across the conference wrapped up, we now know what the future holds for the NFC West champions starting next week in the playoffs.
Let’s look at what’s in store for the postseason and how Week 17 was notable for the Seahawks’ record books.
Seahawks get No. 3 seed, will host L.A. Rams
It seems like just yesterday that the Seahawks and Rams were facing off with the NFC West title up for grabs.
Well, it wasn’t yesterday, but it was just last week, with Seattle beating Los Angeles 20-9 to win the division for the first time since 2016. After the conclusion of four games Sunday in the NFC, we know that those two teams will be facing off yet again next week in the first round of the playoffs.
That game will take place at 1:40 p.m. in Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 9. The TV broadcast will be on FOX, and the radio broadcast on 710 ESPN Seattle and KIRO 97.3 FM will begin with the pregame show starting at 10 a.m.
— Seahawks PR (@seahawksPR) January 4, 2021
The Seahawks had a chance at both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds entering Sunday, but the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 35-16 to secure the conference’s top spot and a bye and the New Orleans Saints blew out the Carolina Panthers 33-7 to hold on to the NFC’s second seed. The Seahawks are the NFC’s No. 3 seed, and with the Rams beating the Cardinals 18-6 in Week 17, Los Angeles is the No. 6 seed and will come to Seattle while Chicago heads to New Orleans as the No. 7 seed.
This will be the third time the Seahawks and Rams will face off this season, with the Rams winning 23-16 in Los Angeles in Week 10 while the Seahawks won 20-9 at home in Week 16.
The Rams will still have their elite defense, but a key question will be on offense. Starting quarterback Jarred Goff injured his thumb against Seattle last week and missed Week 17 after surgery. It remains to be seen if he can play and, if so, how effective he will be. If not, John Wolford will likely start at quarterback again. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards and an interception and also had 56 rushing yards in Week 17, which was his NFL debut.
Metcalf and Lockett make Seahawks history
Sunday was a historic day for the Seahawks’ two top receivers, with both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett setting new franchise records in the win.
The most notable is Metcalf setting the new mark for receiving yards by a Seahawks receiver. With three catches for 21 yards, Metcalf finished 2020 with 1,303 yards, breaking Steve Largent’s record of 1,287 yards back in 1985, 12 years before Metcalf was born.
In addition to the yardage record, Metcalf finished the year with 83 catches and 10 touchdowns. As a rookie in 2019, Metcalf caught 56 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns.
His fellow receiver Tyler Lockett was arguably Seattle’s most valuable player against the 49ers in Week 17, as he finished the day with 12 catches, 90 yards and two touchdowns.
With those 12 catches, Lockett ended 2020 with 100 receptions and became the first Seahawk to catch 100 or more passes in a single season. Lockett also surpassed Bobby Engram and Doug Baldwin in the second quarter for most receptions in a season in team history. Those two each had 94 catches in a single year.
Lockett also surpassed 1,000 yards for the second season in a row, giving the Seahawks two 1,000-yard receivers for just the second time in franchise history. The first was in 1995 with Brian Blades and Joey Galloway. Lockett ended the year with 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns.
A fun note from this game is just how dominant Lockett was this season at State Farm Stadium. Because of COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County, the 49ers finished the year with the Cardinals’ stadium in Arizona as their home field. That meant Seattle played there two times this year. In those two games, Lockett caught 27 passes for 290 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad at all.
What a run for the defense
For the first time since Week 11 when the Seahawks beat the Cardinals 28-21, Seattle’s defense allowed more than 17 points with the 49ers scoring 23.
Since Week 11, the Seahawks have allowed 15 points per game and under 300 yards per game. This was a historically bad defense to start the season and now it looks like the team’s strength entering the playoffs.
The Seahawks also had just 28 sacks last season and will end 2020 with 46. To say that pass rush has done a 180, a turnaround which started in Week 9 when Carlos Dunlap played his first game, would be quite the understatement.
If the Seahawks can get some of these top defenses figured out offensively, they will be awfully tough to beat in the playoffs. The Rams’ top-ranked defense next week will be a great test.