O’Neil’s 3 Questions: Will Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett get back to full speed?

Dec 5, 2019, 11:39 AM | Updated: 11:40 am
Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett...
Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett has been slowed in recent weeks by injury and illness. (Getty)

Three things we’re still trying to figure out with four games left in the Seahawks’ season:

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1) When is Tyler Lockett going to back to full speed?

He is one of the most devastatingly efficient receivers in the league, someone who has caught dang near 80 percent of the passes that have been thrown his way since the 2018 season. He was targeted just three times Monday against Minnesota, failing to catch a pass in a game he played in for the first time in two years. He suffered a leg injury serious enough that he stayed in the hospital for two days after Seattle’s win in San Francisco, and then last week was among the Seahawks who were sick.

“It just takes a lot out of you,” Pete Carroll said Wednesday of his receiver. “He’s doing better.”

That’s good because the Seahawks will need him down the stretch and certainly in the playoffs.

2) Why has the defense been so much better the past 3 weeks?

Linebacker Bobby Wagner pointed to his team’s mindset and pinpointed the turning point as the Monday night victory over San Francisco when the Seahawks kept the 49ers’ offense from scoring a touchdown for the final 55 minutes of that game.

“I think everybody just made up their mind that that’s how we’re going to be,” Wagner said, “that’s the defense we’re going to be. That’s the product that you’ve seen in these last few games, us just making a decision to be great.”

Personnel could have played a factor, too. After all, that 49ers game was the first one that Quandre Diggs started, playing free safety, and while that doesn’t explain the improvement in Seattle’s pass rush, there’s no doubt that it has been better since he joined the lineup.

“Everything just picked up about that time,” Carroll said. “If it was a coincidence or whatever, I don’t know. Let’s give him credit for it.”

3) Why are the Seahawks fumbling so much more this season?

When receiver DK Metcalf fumbled away a fourth-quarter possession on Monday night, it was the 13th fumble the Seahawks lost this season. They lost 14 fumbles in the previous three seasons combined. But before we go thinking that Seattle has suddenly become more prone to losing the ball, it’s important to take into account the flukiness of recoveries.

Seattle has fumbled 21 times this season, losing 13 of those, which translates to 61.9 percent. Compare that to last season when the Seahawks lost only four of the 18 times they fumbled (22.2 percent) or the year before when they lost five of 18 (27.8 percent). So yes, the Seahawks are fumbling more frequently, but the biggest difference is that they’re recovering an uncharacteristically low number of their own fumbles, which is something you can’t really control and therefore should revert to the mean, as a statistician would say, or go back to normal.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

More Seahawks coverage

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Clayton’s Observations: 10-2 Seahawks’ closeness stands out above all
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O’Neil’s 3 Questions: Will Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett get back to full speed?