The score was tied with less than two minutes to play, and the Seahawks needed a drive to set up a potential game-winning score.
And as has been the case so often this season, Russell Wilson turned to receiver Tyler Lockett when the offense needed a big play, and Lockett delivered, getting open for a 37-yard catch that helped set up Sebastian Janikowski’s field goal that gave the Seahawks a 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
It should come as no surprise that Wilson looked to Lockett when the offense needed a big play, just as it should come as no surprise that that said pass attempt worked out for the Seahawks, because when Wilson looked Lockett’s way this season, good things tended to happen. In fact, when Wilson targeted Lockett in 2018, he had a perfect 158.3 passer rating.
Lockett’s numbers paint the picture of a great season on their own, with the fourth-year receiver setting career highs in catches (57) receiving yards (965) and touchdowns (10). But what makes Lockett’s big season all the more impressive is how efficient Wilson was when throwing to his No. 1 target this season. Over the course of the entire regular season, Wilson completed 80.3 percent of his attempts to Lockett (57 for 71) for 965 yards, giving him a 13.6 yards-per-attempt average, and Wilson did not throw an interception when targeting Lockett. Add those numbers up, along with the 10 touchdowns, and Wilson had a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeting Lockett.
“Tyler has been special all year,” Wilson said. “We were hoping that he would get to 1,000 yards this year. He has had an amazing year. I think he has 10 touchdowns, is that right? 10 touchdowns on the season, he has been special all year. His work ethic has been amazing, and he showed up once again.”
Lockett, who also had a touchdown catch early in Sunday’s win, hasn’t been focused on his stats this season even as he continued to set new career highs, but he is proud of his overall play coming off a difficult 2017 season. Two years ago, Lockett suffered a serious injury late in the 2016 season, a broken leg that required surgery and a long rehab process. He made it back to play all 16 games in 2017, but was by his own estimation playing at around 75 or 80 percent of full strength. Lockett persevered through that difficult season, earned a contract extension prior to this season, and in a year when Doug Baldwin battled injuries through much of the season, Lockett emerged as a reliable No. 1 option for Wilson.
“I really don’t try to keep up with stats like that,” Lockett said of reaching double-digit touchdowns. “But just for me and everything I’ve gone through, this has truly been an amazing season that I’m going to cherish, and I’m looking forward for more to come.”
But even if Lockett isn’t focused on numbers, his teammates were thrilled to see him secure his 10th touchdown catch in Seattle’s final game of the regular season.
“Going into this week, we said the one thing we wanted to do is get him a touchdown so he could end the season on 10,” Baldwin said. “I couldn’t be happier for him. I’ve said this all year, just the things he has gone through physically, mentally, emotionally, overcoming the injury he had to overcome, and to be able to produce the way he produced this year—this team needed him to do so—it’s phenomenal. It’s a credit to him not only as a football player but as a man, how mentally tough he is to be able to do all of that. And he’s not done, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 27-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 of the 2018 NFL season.