Rookie wideout Tyler Lockett has been named NFC Special Teams Player of Week 17 for his play in this past Sunday's 36-6 Seattle Seahawks win over the division rival Arizona Cardinals.
Lockett, who was voted to the 2016 Pro Bowl as a return specialist, brought back four punts for 139 yards (34.8-yard average) at Arizona to set a franchise-record for most punt-return yards in a game, topping the previous mark of 106 set in 1999 by Charlie Rogers. In the past 10 seasons, Lockett is the only player to have three punt returns of 30-plus yards (66, 42, 31) in the same game, including a long of 66 yards that helped turn the game in Seattle's favor for good.
"I think we just did a tremendous job of executing everything in the game and it all started with practice," Lockett said postgame. "[Special teams] coach [Brian] Schneider went up there, gave us a speech about the biggest difference that we can make in special teams that can turn the game around, and like I always say, it's always those 10 people out there that make my job a lot easier. I catch the ball and I have 15 yards from the opponent and it's all because of the way that we hold up, the way that people continuously stay on their blocks."
It's the first Player of the Week award for Lockett, who won NFC Special Teams Player of the Month in September after returning a kickoff and punt for touchdowns. He's the first Seahawks rookie to win Special Teams Player of the Week since Week 14 in 2011, when Doug Baldwin was honored for blocking a punt that was returned for a touchdown. Lockett's big day in the punt-return game also has him up for Rookie of the Week at NFL.com.
"Now is the time for us to be able to come alive," Lockett said. "Now is the time for us to be able to get on board and to link arms and continue to do what we've been doing, and I think that we've showed that today, but we have to be able to do that day-in and day-out as we reach the playoffs."
Lockett, a third-round pick out of Kansas State, finished his first regular season with a rookie franchise-record 1,915 all-purpose yards, a number that ranks fourth all-time in Seattle history. His 9.5 yards per punt return ranks 10th in the NFL and his 25.8 yards per kickoff return ranks eighth.
"I'm really happy that happened after getting selected to the Pro Bowl and all of that for returns and to have a game like that to jump out and kind of prove it," Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday of Lockett's Player of the Week honor. "He had a huge start and gained a lot of respect early and we weren't able to get him going much after the early part of the year. He was always a factor, you could tell by the way teams were approaching us, but it was great to see him have a big game and get some numbers back out there and it's nice that he got rewarded with that."
The Seahawks were all in for the final regular season matchup against NFC leaders, the Arizona Cardinals and team photographer Rod Mar captured the exclusive moments of the team's dominating performance.