DK Metcalf ended Philadelphia’s championship dreams with one pivotal play in January, and he might have helped end this era of Eagles football on Monday night.
Metcalf caught 10 passes for 177 yards against Philadelphia, helping the Seahawks to a 23-17 win that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Metcalf’s gaudy numbers didn’t include a touchdown, but that didn’t end up mattering. What was more important was the style in which Metcalf racked up his stats.
Metcalf made a statement early in the first quarter that set the tone for the night when he caught a sidearm dart from Russell Wilson on a quick slant, turned upfield and absorbed a hammer of a hit from safety Rodney McLeod, wearing the blow like a champion by taking one step back before proceeding forward, with McLeod stumbling to the ground from the impact of the collision. The reception and gain of 13 sent a message: Take your best shot at Metcalf if you choose, but be prepared to feel the aftereffects.
The second-year wideout frequently used his unique blend of size and athleticism to win one-on-one matchups with prized Eagles corner Darius Slay, taking advantage of Philadelphia’s stubborn refusal to adjust from man coverage en route to breaking 175 yards on the night. And while the Eagles defense brought its own punch to the fight, twice stopping Seattle on fourth down early in Monday night’s contest, it was Metcalf who ultimately got the last laugh.
For those who don’t remember, Metcalf had to wait some time before he was selected with the last pick of the second round. The physical freak and focus of the NFL Scouting Combine had fallen due to concerns about his ability to become a complete receiver at the professional level, which seems absurd in hindsight. Philadelphia was one of the teams that needed a receiver and decided to pass on Metcalf.
“Kind of like coming home,” Metcalf said, via the Tacoma News Tribune’s Gregg Bell. “A team that could have drafted me but didn’t. So I have to make them pay.”
As if he needed more motivation than that, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz — the former coach of future Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson in Detroit — met up with Metcalf prior to Monday night’s contest and gave him a little extra juice by telling the youngster he’s “not there yet” in comparison to Johnson.