Through five games, Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf was one of the NFL's most productive pass catchers with 496 yards and five touchdowns. He had a relatively quiet game, numbers wise, in Sunday night's 37-34 overtime loss to Arizona.
But despite catching only two passes for 23 yards, Metcalf made one of the best plays of this season, one that had teammates and opponents raving after the game, and that had football fans going crazy on social media.
With the Seahawks driving for what they hoped would be another touchdown, Russell Wilson lofted a pass towards Chris Carson, not seeing that Cardinals safety Budda Baker was breaking on the ball.
Baker picked off Wilson's pass and took off sprinting down the left sideline for what looked like it was going to be a 98-yard touchdown, but Metcalf had other ideas. Despite being behind Baker and in the middle of the field, Metcalf gave chase, and eventually he used his 4.33-second 40-yard dash time to catch Baker at the 8-yard line after a 90-yard return.
That hustle play proved to be even bigger four plays later when Seattle's defense stopped the Cardinals on fourth-and-goal, then again when the offense marched 97 yards for a score, making it 20-7 not long after Baker nearly gave Arizona a 14-13 lead.
"That was one of the best football plays I've ever seen," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who has seen his share of football plays in a coaching career that dates back to the 1970s. "It was just remarkable. You saw him realize what was happening, the opportunity, and he just used all that marvelous skill that he had and will to go run the guy down. And it was such an incredible play because of what happened afterwards. The defense followed and rallied, got out of there on four downs and took the ball off them, the offense goes (97) yards with the drive and scores. I just think that it was an inspiring play, nobody could miss it. Everybody that was watching that play, whether you like football or not, you can see that was something extraordinary. I've just never seen one quite like that, and the follow up, because of the inspirational moment was extraordinarily well done, so really a great play for all time."
Wilson, who was unable to catch Baker, was equally impressed with his young teammate's effort.
"It was one of the most remarkable plays I've ever seen," Wilson said. "… He just kept going, man. It was just unbelievable play by him, just the effort. I really respect him for that. That's what it takes, just a winning effort. Like I've told you guys, he's one of the best players in the league, he's one of the most special guys I know, he's one of my best friends, and I really respect him. Not just because of his effort on that particular play, but that's who he is, that's who he is, every day. He's consistent in that way so that's what I love him for."
Even Tyler Lockett, who had a career-best game with 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns, two of them spectacular grabs in the end zone, thinks his fellow receiver might have made the play of the season.
"That was amazing play," Lockett said. "Honestly, that was probably one of the best plays that we've had this year. When you see how Budda caught the ball and how he was 15 yards in front of everybody almost, just the fact that he never gave up—he took off, he caught him, he stopped him, and not only that, but they didn't even score, not even a field goal. And then we drove down and we scored after that. That was a big-time play. That was a big-time play by a big-time player, and that was one of the best plays that you can see him make without him touching the ball."
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Metcalf ran 114.8 yards on the play, hitting a top speed of 22.64 MPH, the second-fastest speed recorded by a tackler this season after teammate Shaquill Griffin, who hit 22.75 miles per hour on a play against Dallas.
Even Baker, a former Bellevue High School and University of Washington standout, was impressed with Metcalf despite being the victim of that hustle play, telling reporters it was the first time in his life he'd been caught from behind like that.
"I was running, and next thing you know, I see big 14 coming after me," Baker said. "He got me. That's the first time I've ever been hawked in my entire life."
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said he thought Baker was going to score, "Until that huge stallion of a human came galloping out of nowhere. Phenomenal anticipation by (Baker). DK Metcalf is an absolutely freak athlete, and what an effort play by him. High school coaches will be showing that one for years—just don't give up on a play."
The best photos from Week 7's Seahawks-Cardinals game at State Farm Stadium. Fueled by Nesquik.