Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf Developing into NFL’s Next Great Pitch-and-Catch Duo

Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf Developing into NFL’s Next Great Pitch-and-Catch Duo

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, right, catches a pass for a touchdown ahead of Dallas Cowboys strong safety Darian Thompson, let, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

To say the Seattle Seahawks are firing on all cylinders offensively is one whopper of an understatement. After Sunday’s 38-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the 3-0 Seahawks are averaging 37 points and 408 yards per contest. Russell Wilson already has 14 touchdown passes this year—the most ever by a quarterback over the first three games of a season.

There are numerous reasons the Seahawks are so nova-hot offensively, not the least of which is the otherworldly level at which Wilson is playing. But one of the biggest is the emergence of second-year wide receiver DK Metcalf as one of the most dangerous downfield threats in the NFL.

As a matter of fact, after Metcalf shredded yet another secondary Sunday, a pretty compelling argument can be made that there isn’t a more dangerous pitch-and-catch duo than Wilson and the 6’4″, 229-pound speedster from Ole Miss.

Heading into Week 3, Metcalf was already off to quite the start to his second season. In each of his first two contests, he topped 90 receiving yards and found the end zone. He entered the game averaging 23.4 yards per catch. And in Week 2, he did something that rarely happens by roasting reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore for a 54-yard touchdown.

NFL @NFL

Russell Wilson makes a perfect throw to DK Metcalf for the 54-yard TD! #Seahawks

📺: #NEvsSEA on NBC
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/D3Z0XewhrI https://t.co/n52oK6Y7y7

As Gregg Bell reported for the Tacoma News-Tribune, that play didn’t surprise offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, but it did impress him.

“It didn’t surprise me. We expected them to match Gilmore on him,” he said. “That was part of the game plan. Have a ton of respect for him as a corner and a coverage player. But we have more confidence in DK. I think that’s proven.”

As it turns out, Metcalf was only getting started.

A banged-up Dallas secondary had no answer for Metcalf on Sunday. He again caught four passes, just as he had in each of the two preceding games. But this time, he topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season and found the end zone yet again for the fourth-quarter touchdown that put Seattle ahead for good.

Seattle Seahawks @Seahawks

.@DangeRussWilson and @dkm14 connect for six!

📺: FOX https://t.co/Xi4eQDzdYw

That’s 12 catches for 297 yards and three scores through three games, a pace that would lead to a gaudy 64/1,584/16 stat line over an entire season. Metcalf is now averaging 24.8 yards per catch—far and away the most of any player with 10 or more receptions.

The youngster must be butter because he’s on a roll.

Granted, not everything went according to plan. Metcalf should have had a second long touchdown in the game. But after he slowed down on a catch in the first half to showboat his way into the end zone, rookie corner Trevon Diggs knocked the ball out of his hands and out the back of the end zone for a touchback.

PFF @PFF

DK Metcalf fumbles the score away after TOASTING Trevon Diggs

https://t.co/7CTPILG3TO

The odds that Metcalf heard from the coaches about that gaffe are approximately 147 percent. He also heard from his quarterback.

“I told him, ‘Never do it again,'” Wilson said after the game, per Bell.

Metcalf would be well-served to listen to his quarterback. Without Wilson, he wouldn’t be enjoying his second NFL season nearly as much.

Simply put, Wilson has been playing at a ridiculous level. Through three games, the 31-year-old is completing 76.7 percent of his passes and averaging 308.3 passing yards per game. He has thrown five touchdown passes in each of the last two games and has just one interception. His passer rating for the year is a robust 138.0.

He’s doing his best to end the MVP debate—by Halloween.

Metcalf also benefits from playing opposite a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver in his own right in Tyler Lockett. After gashing the Cowboys for 100 yards and three scores Sunday, Lockett is up to 24 receptions for 259 yards and four touchdowns for the season. He’s caught 24 of the 29 targets thrown his way.

John Froschauer/Associated Press

It’s a pick-your-poison situation. Try to take away the deep ball to Metcalf and Lockett (who can absolutely roast defenses over the top, as well) will chew you to pieces underneath. Double Lockett and you’re just about guaranteed to make the highlight reel for all the wrong reasons.

Then there are Metcalf’s considerable athletic tools. Not only does he tower over many defensive backs and look like he was chiseled out of a block of granite, but he also ran an unofficial 4.33-second 40-yard dash at last year’s scouting combine.

That just ain’t fair.

As Tim Booth reported for the Associated Press (h/t Yahoo Sports), Schottenheimer said that what might make Metcalf the most dangerous of all is that as good as he already is, he yearns to be that much better.

”He’s obviously tremendously talented, but I mean this guy is an unbelievable worker. He wants to be great. I mean he wants to be one of the best of all time,” Schottenheimer said. ”He doesn’t win every matchup. But when he doesn’t win the matchup, he takes it personally and he doesn’t shy away, he wants to jump back up there.”

That’s the thing: As impressive as Metcalf has been this year, he’s still only begun to scratch the surface of his potential. This is a receiver who is all but uncoverable with a limited route tree.

Once he becomes more refined as a route-runner? It will all be over but the crying, folks.

Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks are undefeated, but they aren’t perfect. Chris Carson’s injury Sunday looms large over the run game, and the pass defense has been…not good. When it comes to throwing the ball, though, the Seahawks look like the class of the NFC, if not all of the NFL.

Most of the credit for that has been attributed to “letting Russ cook.” And that’s fine. Quarterbacks have long gotten the glory in the NFL.

But Chef Wilson is only as good as the ingredients around him. In Metcalf, he’s got a temptingly tasty one, creating the perfect storm of the league’s best deep-ball passer chucking to a guy who looks like he was born to catch bombs.

It’s been a treat to watch unless you’re the poor soul “covering” Metcalf—one mistake Sunday notwithstanding. And there’s no reason to think we won’t be watching the Wilson-to-Metcalf connection terrorize defenses for years to come.

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