PHILADELPHIA — D.K. Metcalf was disappointed when he fell to the second round of the draft. Now he’s a big reason why the Seahawks are going to the second round of the playoffs.
The wide receiver caught seven passes for 160 yards, the most ever by a rookie in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era, in Sunday’s 17-9 wild-card win over the Eagles.
Those numbers included a 53-yard touchdown that helped give Seattle a 17-6 lead in the third quarter and a 36-yard grab on third-and-10 with 1:37 left in the game to keep the ball away from the Eagles.
“He knows he can play the game at this level and he wants to be in the middle of it all,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s got marvelous talent, so he’s just getting going. That was a huge game, obviously, but he’s been playing good football all year.”
Metcalf’s touchdown was an illustration of his athleticism. He caught a deep pass, tumbled inside the 5-yard line but was able to get back on his feet before being touched by a pair of Eagles defenders and lunge across the goal line.
“I look up, I saw it was in front of me, so I just stretched out and caught the ball,” Metcalf said. “I didn’t feel like I got touched, so I just got up and stretched out for the end zone.”
The catch that sealed the win? “It was spectacular,” Carroll said. “That’s as pretty as football can look right there, and at the most critical time.”
With a dismal running game — the Seahawks had 17 carries by running backs Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch for a combined 19 yards — Seattle needed to generate whatever offense it could from the passing game. It wound up being just enough to beat the Eagles and backup quarterback Josh McCown.
Russell Wilson (also the team’s leading rusher with 45 yards) threw for 325 yards, with just about half of them going to Metcalf. His 160 receiving yards were a career high and broke the Seahawks record for a playoff game set by Zach Miller, who had 142 in 2012.
“Some people hit the rookie wall, but there’s no such thing for him,” Wilson said of Metcalf. “He’s like American Pharoah out there; he gets stronger as the race goes on . . . There’s a lot more ahead of us. I told him in the locker room: ‘Great game. Keep balling.’ We’re just getting started.”