DK Metcalf has turned into the Seattle Seahawks alpha receiver. Tyler Lockett is still very good, of course, and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba is making more big plays as the season wears on, but when Seattle absolutely needs a receiver to take over late in the game, Metcalf is more that guy than Lockett and Smith-Njigba. And that is no slight to Lockett or JSN, but more praise for Metcalf.
Lockett has more targets and catches (and a higher catch rate) than Metcalf in 2023, but what Metcalf does with his reception is much more and therefore, more important. Metcalf leads the Seahawks in receiving yards (998 and 185 more than Lockett), receiving touchdowns (8 and 4 more than Lockett), and yards per catch (16.6 and 3.5 yards better than second-best Noah Fant). When teams scheme against the Seahawks they are more worried about Metcalf than any other Seattle receiver simply because Metcalf is more potentially explosive.
When Seattle plays the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17, Metcalf is likely going to be lined up across from Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter, Jr. While Metcalf is dealing with a back injury that popped up in practice this week, head coach Pete Carroll says he anticipates Metcalf playing against Pittsburgh.
As the Steelers like to blitz a lot (they blitz the fourth-most in the NFL), this means a lot of man coverage on receivers. The Porter and Metcalf could decide the outcome of Week 17 and the matchup could go a long way toward whether the Seahawks make the playoffs or not.
Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf looks forward to playing Steelers' Joey Porter, Jr.
Seattle needs to win its final two games to clinch a playoff spot. If they lose to the Steelers, the Seahawks could still make the postseason but will need a bit of help. Should Metcalf go off against Pittsburgh and score a couple of touchdowns, that might be almost enough to help Seattle win a low-scoring game.
Porter, however, has good size for a corner and is one of the few NFL corners who can come close to matching up against the 6'4" Metcalf. Porter is 6'2" and almost 200 pounds. He does not have Metcalf's strength, but he can high point a ball with Metcalf and was well-coached in college at Penn State and again in Pittsburgh.
Porter has only allowed 22 of the 46 times he has been targeted this year to be completed. He has also allowed just one touchdown pass and that was back in Week 3. His quarterback rating allowed is only 65.7.
But DK Metcalf thinks facing Porter will be "fun." In a press conference on Thursday, Metcalf said, "(Porter has) made a lot of plays and taken on a lot of big receivers. So he's gonna be a fun matchup just going against him..."
Metcalf sometimes has his best games against good cornerbacks because he likes the challenge. When Jalen Ramsey played for the Los Angeles Rams, Ramsey made his share of plays, but Metcalf also had a couple of games where had at least 100 yards receiving. Let's hope Metcalf does that against Porter in Week 17 and leads the Seahawks to a needed victory.