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Seahawks Rookie Receivers "Played Like Starters" In Week 7 Win Over Cardinals

With DK Metcalf sidelined by injury, rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo came through with big performances Seattle’s Week 7 win over Arizona.


Jake Bobo wasn't sure, but he had enough of a suspicion that, after hauling in a catch initially ruled to be out of bounds in the end zone, he got up, smiling as always, and asked the official how close it was to a touchdown.

In fact, Bobo had somehow managed to get both feet down, displaying body control that would make Tyler Lockett proud, and after review, the rookie receiver had the second touchdown of his career, a score that helped the Seahawks to a 20-10 victory over the Cardinals.

"I was asking him if it was close, he said, 'real close,'" Bobo said. "I obviously looked up at the board, but didn't know if they were going to rule in my favor but happy they did."

And Bobo wasn't the only rookie receiver making big plays on Sunday. On a day the Seahawks were without leading receiver DK Metcalf, first-round pick Jaxon-Smith Njigba had his best game as a Seahawk, catching four passes for 63 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

It marked the first time two Seahawks rookie receivers have caught touchdowns in the same game in franchise history, and the first time two rookies at any position have recorded touchdown receptions in the same game since Lockett and Thomas Rawls did it in 2015.

"We brought the pups to life in this game," Carroll said. "It was great to see Jaxon get his first touchdown, and he had a number of contributions. And Bobo, a freakin' circus grab to hold that ball and get it by an eyelash down there and make that touchdown. It was a great play by both Geno and Bobo."

Having rookies start to emerge near the midway point of the season is exactly what Carroll hopes to see every year as those newcomers get acclimated to life in the NFL, and it appears both Smith-Njigba and Bobo are ready to provide whatever the offense needs out of them in any given week. 

"It's great for us, here we are, coming around to the halfway point, and to have those pups playing like that, they can play like starters, and they did," Carroll said. "That's a great accomplishment through the process, it's what we shoot for. So we're really fired up to be able to say that, those guys can go out there and play. It doesn't matter what's going on or who's in the game, they'll play like starters."

Smith-Njigba came into the season with high expectations on him thanks to his draft status and his standout play throughout training camp, but in part due to a wrist injury that required surgery less than three weeks before the start of the season, and in part due to the simple fact that he is sharing targets with the likes of Lockett and Metcalf, he didn't get off to fast start. After gaining 111 yards with a touchdown in his last two games, however, it looks like Smith-Njigba is well on his way to making big contributions for the offense.

"He just feels so much better, he's contributing so well," Carroll said. "The (touchdown) call was a great call from Shane (Waldron), and it was so easy, Geno (Smith) just threw it at him down on the goal line. It was the other plays that were really good plays for him. Those guys played like starters."

But while Smith-Njigba becoming a big part of the offense felt inevitable from the first week of camp, what Bobo has done early in his career is quite remarkable. Undrafted out of UCLA in part due to a 4.99 40-yard dash time, Bobo came to camp just looking to possibly make the team. Once he did that, he started figuring out how to help the offense, and be it making big plays like his 18-yard touchdown, or a 31-yard grab to convert on third-down early in the game, or a physical block to spring a big run, he just keeps coming through every time an opportunity presents itself.

"Jake's got all that stuff in him," Carroll said. "He's already showing us. He's got the great knack and the sense and awareness and spatial awareness, there's no catch that he can't make. There's nothing he can't do with catching the ball and using his body in that fashion. That's in a short time, six months of watching the guy, I totally trust him."

While Bobo isn't going to be confused with Metcalf when it comes to his speed, he has shown, repeatedly, that he can get open and make big plays even against faster cornerbacks.

"I think people get too caught up in the 40 time, to be honest," said linebacker Bobby Wagner. "I've met so many players that ran a 4.2 they didn't make it to the league, and I've met a lot of guys that run a 5-flat that had a hell of a career. We put too much into the 40 time in my opinion. But watching him when he first get in here, and he was preparing and you watch him run routes, you watch him do extra stuff off the field, extra workouts, things of that nature, that propelled him into making the team. Then, he worked even harder to find a role and he's really mastered that role. Then when we had some guys down, it was his opportunity to step up and he did a really, really good job, not just in the pass, but he's very effective in the run game as well. I think it's just a really cool story for guys that don't get drafted. If you work hard and you do what you need to do, he's a guy that can show you that you can make it." 

The Seahawks will hope to get Metcalf back soon, but playing without their leading receiver on Sunday, the Seahawks got a good look at just how deep and talented they are at that position.

"I think it was huge for not only Jaxon and Bobo, but I think it was huge for just our overall offense, to see those guys continue to step up and make great plays, and for their confidence and obviously for the chemistry that we're building together," said quarterback Geno Smith. "I think it was great. And so obviously there's going to be a ton of guys who have an opportunity to step up on this offense and do great things. But for those two guys, man, I'm just so proud and so happy for them."

Check out some of the best action shots from Week 7 vs. the Cardinals at Lumen Field on October 22, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.

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