This is the Seahawks Gameday Magazine feature story for Week 4 of the 2020 season, presented by CenturyLink. Visit our Game Center for more information related to Week 4 vs. the Miami Dolphins.
When Tyler Lockett plays video games, he does so with one goal in mind, regardless of the game.
"Whether it's NBA 2K or whether I'm playing Call of Duty or Madden, I try to do the same thing, I try to be a floor general," the Seahawks receiver said. "If I'm at quarterback or if I'm playing basketball, I'm trying to figure out, what can I do to expose certain people? So it's the same when I come out here on the football field in real life."
This season, more than ever, Lockett and Russell Wilson are teaming up to expose opposing defenses.
Wilson, understandably, has been getting a lot of attention for his hot start, which earned him NFC West Player of the Month honors, but it's impossible to separate Wilson's MVP-caliber play from the connection he has with his pass-catchers, most notably Lockett and DK Metcalf.
Because Metcalf is built like a comic book character, and because he was a big name heading into last year's draft, and because nearly every catch seems to be on a deep ball—Metcalf is averaging an absurd 24.8 yards per catch—the second-year receiver has rightly been getting a lot of hype this year.
But don't let Wilson's torrid start or Metcalf's big plays and superhero muscles distract you from the season Lockett is having. As Metcalf put it on Twitter Thursday, Lockett might be one of the most underappreciated players in the league at his position, at least outside of Seattle.
Through three games, Lockett has 24 catches for 259 yards and four touchdowns, three of which came in the first half of last week's win over Dallas. Those numbers put him on pace to eclipse last year's career-best totals of 82 catches and 1,057 yards, numbers that would have been even better had Lockett not played through both a significant leg injury and serious illness in the second half of last season. For most of Lockett's first four seasons, he was Seattle's second or third option with Doug Baldwin leading the way, but injuries to Baldwin in 2018, then Baldwin's retirement the following year led to Lockett emerging as Wilson's No. 1 target, and Lockett has thrived in that role.
In 2018, Wilson famously had a perfect passer rating when targeting Lockett for the entire season, then last year Lockett set career highs for catches and yards. This year he has been even better, and if Lockett is underrated outside of the VMAC, he definitely isn't among his teammates and coaches.
"Would you say he's underrated? I don't know," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "… The thing that doesn't get talked about with Tyler is his football instincts. His FBI—football intelligence, whatever you call it, it is off the charts. You take an extremely quick and dynamic athlete with great speed, and you touch him and give him the gift of football intelligence, and he's a hard matchup. He's playing at a high level. For a guy of his size—I haven't been around many guys his size, T.Y. Hilton, I was around him in Indy—but for a guy with his size, his ability to get open is very, very unique. In my mind he's not underrated, because I see him every day in practice."
Lockett, who had a season-best nine catches for 100 yards last weekend, and Wilson, who has thrown and league-high 14 touchdown passes through three games, formed a strong bond not long after Lockett arrived in Seattle. From early in Lockett's Seattle career, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll compared the young receivers work ethic to Wilson's, and the two also share a strong Christian faith and unimpeachable character, only strengthening their off-field connection.