With no DK, Seahawks rookies Bobo and JSN come up huge

Oct 22, 2023, 5:43 PM | Updated: 6:02 pm

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a touchdown on Oct. 22, 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Sunday was a first for the Seattle Seahawks, who didn’t have star receiver DK Metcalf when they hosted the Arizona Cardinals.

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Metcalf, who leads the Seahawks in receiving yards this season, did not play due to hip and rib injuries. It was the first game he’s missed since entering the NFL in 2019.

With Metcalf out, the Seahawks’ clear-cut No. 1 receiver was Tyler Lockett, who has shined for Seattle for many years. Lockett had a relatively quiet day for the Hawks, catching four passes for 38 yards. Instead, a pair of rookie receivers were key for the Seahawks in their 20-10 win over Arizona.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the No. 20 pick in this year’s draft, and Jake Bobo, an undrafted rookie, were the two who stepped up in the passing game with Metcalf sidelined.

Smith-Njigba hauled in four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown, the first of the day for Seattle and the first career score for “JSN.”

Bobo also had four catches to tally 61 yards, and he found the end zone as well for the second TD of his career. It came in very improbable fashion and required a Seahawks challenge in order to get counted. (More on that later.)

Seahawks rookie Jake Bobo’s TD catch must be seen to be believed

“We brought the pups to life in this game,” head coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “It was great to see Jaxon get his first touchdown and have a number of contributions.”

As for Bobo, Carroll isn’t surprised that he’s contributing at a high level.

“Jake’s got all that stuff in him,” he said. “… He’s got the great knack and sense and spacial awareness. There’s no catch he can’t make … I totally trust him.”

It was hardly a banner day for the Seahawks on offense again, however, as they scored just the 20 points on a lackluster Arizona team. That made the performances of Smith-Njigba and Bobo stand out even more.

Quarterback Geno Smith completed 75% of his passes, but he finished the day with only 219 yards and threw an ill-advised interception in the red zone trying to force a throw to Bobo. He later fumbled a snap, too, setting up the Cardinals with great field position.

Aside from getting the win – which is of course priority No. 1 – two of the three biggest positive takeaways from the offense were the team’s two rookie wideouts stepping up in a big way. The other was second-year running back Kenneth Walker III rushing 26 times for 105 yards with No. 2 back Zach Charbonnet sidelined.

Bobo and Smith-Njigba knew they’d have more on their plate this week with Metcalf out of action.

“With 14 out, we knew we were going to have to step up,” Bobo said. “… I was just looking to semi-fill his big shoes and I felt like we did a little of that today.”

Smith-Njigba said Metcalf and Lockett have helped him and Bobo out tremendously.

“I wanna thank DK and Tyler Lockett for putting a lot into me and giving me more confidence to go out there and show what I can do,” he said.

Bobo’s ‘circus’ catch

Bobo’s catch was certainly the talk of the locker room postgame as the rookie receiver had one of the more difficult touchdowns you’re ever going to see.

Carroll used the word “circus” to describe it.

“Bobo, freaking circus grab to haul that ball in and get it by an eyelash and make that touchdown,” he said, later adding, “It’s an eyelash between him making it and not making it.”

The way Bobo was able to get both feet in bounds created a natural comparison to Lockett, who has shown a knack for that.

“Phenomenal footwork. I think we can say Jake’s probably up there with Tyler when it comes to the toe-drag swag,” Smith said.

Bobo didn’t know right away that he’d caught it, and he actually asked the official about it.

“I was asking him if it was close. He said ‘real close,'” Bobo said.

Bobo saw the replay on the field and had one thought.

“Just give it to me,” Bobo recalled thinking.

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With no DK, Seahawks rookies Bobo and JSN come up huge