GLENDALE, Ariz.—Before the kickoff of Sunday's game, it was Tyler Lockett, a co-captain playing the final game of his ninth NFL season, rallying his team with a pregame speech.
More than three hours later, it was Lockett providing the game-winning scores, a 34-yard touchdown he immediately followed with a two-point conversion to help the Seahawks to a 21-20 victory over the Cardinals.
Lockett caught only two passes on Sunday, but gained 71 yards on those two receptions, one of which set up Seattle's first touchdown, and the second of which proved to be the game-winner. As has been the case so many times in his career, Lockett was at his best in the biggest moments.
"He's my hero, he's just my hero," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "He's just been such a great player for so long. He continues to go unrecognized around probably around the world here, but it doesn't matter, we know how good he is and what a great contribution he's made to this program."
Carroll also pointed to Lockett's impact before the game even started, saying, "If you could have heard (Lockett) talk to them in pregame before we went out and his words of wisdom about hanging together and playing for one another, and it's the guy next to you, and he was going to call on everybody just like he wants us to call on him. All of the principles that are so powerful for a team, Lock was on it. Then here he did it again."
Said Bobby Wagner, "He's just an all-time great for sure."
And it should have come as no surprise that Smith, needing his two biggest throws of the game, looked Lockett's direction. Throughout a career in which Lockett has become the franchise's No. 2 pass-catcher in terms of receptions, yards and touchdowns, trailing only Hall of Famer Steve Largent, Lockett has consistently been at his best in big moments, be it crucial third downs or late-game drives.
"Shoot, man, he is Tyler Lockett, that is all that we can say," said Smith. "He is the most humble guy that I have been around. He has a great perspective. That is just one part of him. He runs great routes and has great hands, he's tough as nails. He fights to the finish. He believes. He is one of the better receivers in this league. He has consistently shown that over the course of his career, and I am lucky to be able to play with him. I have seen him be able to make those catches when Russ (Wilson) was here playing quarterback. I watched him do that when we played him at K-State. He has always been great, and I think that is who he is."
The touchdown, both Smith and Lockett explained, was a play the Seahawks were trying to get to earlier in the game, and Smith knew prior to breaking the huddle the time was right to take a shot to Lockett.
"It was one-on-one, they were playing quarter-half, doubling DK (Metcalf)," Smith said. "It was a play that we were trying to get to pretty much the entire game and we just didn't have a chance to. Shane (Waldron) dialed it up at the perfect time. We got the coverage that we wanted. Tyler ran a great route, protection was great, and I was able to make that throw. The funny part about it was that I was in the huddle, and we knew that it was going to be a touchdown. I told the guys that when we score right here, we are going for two so be ready. It happened exactly how we saw it happening so that was pretty cool."
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 18 vs. the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on January 7, 2024. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.