Last season, those two combined for 10 touchdowns and a perfect passer rating. On Sunday, they were good enough to carry the Seattle Seahawks to an overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in spite of forgettable performances from their defense and kicker.
There’s no way the Seahawks would have escaped with a 40-34 overtime win over the Bucs had it not been for Wilson and Lockett hooking up 13 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns. It was the latest and strongest indication yet of how potent a connection the Seahawks have formed between their MVP-candidate quarterback and his new No. 1 receiver.
There isn’t much that leaves Pete Carroll at a loss for words, but what he’s seeing from Wilson and Lockett nearly did.
“I can’t even explain or describe it or whatever, other than to just kind of marvel and watch it and have fun watching these guys play the game,” the Seahawks’ coach said. “They are extraordinary players, and we’re so lucky that they have kind of grown up together. The benefit of all that time. The marvelous connection that they have is as good as you can get. It’s just a joy to watch them play and practice and work, and just hope we can have another good game next week.”
Not that this is anything new. Lockett began ascending to No. 1 status last season as Doug Baldwin battled one injury after another. Lockett’s two touchdowns Sunday — both on perfectly lofted throws from Wilson into the corner of the end zone — give him six this season. His 16 touchdowns since the start of last season are tied with that of Antonio Brown and Tyreek Hill for the most among wide receivers.
Lockett’s 13 catches Sunday are tied for the third-most in a game in franchise history. With 59 catches for 767 yards, he’s on his way to his first 1,000-yard season after falling just short last season, when he was arguably the most efficient receiver in the league.
To think that the $10.55 million average of the three-year extension Lockett signed in 2018 seemed steep at the time. It’s one of the NFL’s better bargains now.
“Tyler Lockett is ridiculous,” Carroll said following a long pause as he searched for the right words. “He’s so good.”
A handful of completions from Wilson to Lockett this season have generated legitimate debate about whether the throw or the catch was more impressive. Take their improbable touchdown in Week 5 against the Rams — the most improbable passing TD of the past three seasons, per NFL Next Gen Stats — or two over-the-shoulder connections last week in Atlanta that seemed to have no business being completed.
Wilson has now thrown for 22 touchdowns with just one interception after tying his career-high with five TDs against the Bucs. When targeting Lockett this season, he has an 81.9% completion rate and a 138.8 passer rating. Those two would have had a third TD Sunday had Wilson not overthrown a second-quarter pass to an open Lockett.
Lockett’s role doesn’t figure to change significantly with the Seahawks taking a look at Josh Gordon, whom they claimed off waivers.
“I think we can keep growing,” Wilson said of his rapport with Lockett. “There’s some things in there we can keep trying to hit and keep making plays. I think Tyler has been special. He makes my job easy. He’s really, really good. He’s as good as it gets. So he just keeps showing up, keeps making play after play. There’s nothing that that man can’t do.”
The Saints have Drew Brees and Michael Thomas. The Falcons have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. The Texans have Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. The Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes and Hill. None of those quarterback-receiver duos has combined for more touchdowns or a better passer rating since the start of last season than Wilson and Lockett: 16 and 156.3.
“Nobody’s better,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Honestly, with the way Russ is getting the ball out and the way Lockett is making those catches, nobody’s better.”