The NFL is full of elite quarterback and wide receiver duos from Patrick Mahomes/Tyreek Hill, Drew Brees/Michael Thomas, Aaron Rodgers/DeVante Adams, and most recently Kyler Murray/DeAndre Hopkins. However, in the midst of all the lists and discussions around this topic, there is one ‘dangeruss’ duo that doesn’t get the credit they deserve: Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett.
Despite their accomplishments, both Wilson and Lockett are arguably two of the most underrated at their individual positions. Although their names aren’t completely missing from the quarterback/receiver conversation, the potency of the Wilson-Lockett connection as one of the best in the league isn’t talked about nearly as much as it should be.
This observation isn’t discounting the budding tandem that D.K. Metcalf and Russell Wilson are becoming but there’s no denying the magic that is Wilson and Lockett. Lockett’s ability to catch the improbable and Wilson’s trust that he will make it happen, is one of many reasons they are lethal together on the field.
Back in 2016, Lockett stated: “I want to be the best that I can be and so together, as long as we continue to develop that chemistry, I don’t think anything can stop us.” He wasn’t wrong about that.
Like any relationship, it took time for their chemistry to grow. Especially with former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin locked in as number one and Lockett’s injuries early in his career, making it difficult for him to play at full capacity. Late in the 2016 season, Lockett suffered a broken leg that required surgery and an extended rehab process. He then played all 16 games in 2017, but admittingly wasn’t at full strength.
Despite the physical rollercoaster, Lockett received a contract extension that led to a commanding 2018 season. It was during that year Lockett showed his ability to be a reliable number one option for Wilson which allowed their connection to truly emerge.
Lockett set career highs in catches (57) receiving yards (965) and touchdowns (10). His efficiency rubbed off on Wilson who completed 80.3 percent of his attempts to Lockett (57 for 71) for 965 yards, giving him a 13.6 yards-per-attempt average. None of the passes targeting Lockett resulted in interceptions. This added up to a remarkable 158.3 passer rating for Wilson.
The magic of the 2018 season subsided in 2019 when Lockett was sidelined with a lower leg injury after the Seahawks Week 10 win against the San Francisco 49ers followed by a bout with the flu.
When he finally returned healthy in Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers, Lockett and Wilson proved that they still had the juice. Lockett finished the day as the Seahawks leading receiver with eight catches on nine targets for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Seattle secured the win against Carolina with a 3rd and long conversion at the hands of Wilson and Lockett. After the game, Coach Pete Carroll praised the duo but specifically talked about how they naturally feed off of each other.
“They both just have such a high plane of understanding the game and how things go and how to maximize out there and try to take advantage of what’s going on… just find a way to make the right choice,” Carroll said. “That kind of stuff, you just don’t see that stuff very often. He [Tyler Lockett] does that regularly. He just naturally knows what to do with the variables that he’s faced with, and Russ does as well, so you put both those guys together, that’s why you see them playing at such a high level.”
“Look at Russell’s efficiency,” Carroll continued. “Look how high it is having that factor (Lockett) in there. It’s a marvelous connection.”
Now with the 2020 season well underway, the Wilson-Lockett show has not let up. Just look at the Seahawks matchup vs. the Dallas Cowboys in week three. Russell Wilson passed for a total of five touchdowns with three going to Lockett (all in the first half). Most notably, Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown to Lockett in the 1st quarter resulted in a very strong stat line.
Then in week seven vs. the Arizona Cardinals, they did it again with Lockett catching 15 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns including this incredible catch in the back of the end zone.
“Whenever you’re actually doing the play, nothing really seems spectacular unless they see one-handed stuff,” Lockett said when describing his ability to improvise on plays. “But during the play, a lot of times when people see spectacular catches, you’re just trying to make a play on the ball. It’s not until you see the highlight reel or the film after the game and you’re like ‘Wow, how did I do that?’
While Lockett’s talent is undeniable, so is the chemistry that he has built with Wilson over the years.
“The more and more experience you have with someone, the more you’re able to understand their framework, how they think, what they’re looking at and how they view coverages. It allows you to be able to stay alive, especially on the scrambles.”
“I think Tyler is one of the best in the game. We’ve had that great, special connection for a long time now,” Wilson said. “He’s made so many special plays and shown up in so many different ways. He’s everything you want in a receiver. He’s so focused and dialed in everyday. He loves the game. He loves his teammates. I’m grateful he’s on our team, that’s for sure.”
It’s about time Wilson and Lockett are consistently mentioned among the best duos in the game. They have proven time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. Their special chemistry and ability to score at will when they connect is rare. The most ‘dangeruss’ part of it all is they haven’t even scratched the surface of what they can do together.