GREEN BAY, WI — Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf isn't accustomed to mediocrity. Though his well-documented fall in the 2019 NFL Draft was an emotional and disappointing moment for him, it ultimately gave him the opportunity to win right away. And what better situation to land in than with an organization that's been the model of consistent success in the NFC the last 19 years.
But after making the postseason in each of his first two seasons, Metcalf and his teammates find themselves at the bottom of the NFL barrel. With eight games to go in the 2021 season, the Seahawks are 3-6, having just been shut out for the first time in a decade. The offense, despite seeing the return of quarterback Russell Wilson, was stale, uninspired and unable to capitalize on its few opportunities against the Packers' third-ranked defense.
In all, the unit posted just 208 yards of total offense in the 17-0 defeat. Wilson was dreadful in his first game back, completing 20 of 40 pass attempts for 161 yards and two interceptions. Clearly still bothered by his healing finger to some degree, the future Hall of Fame passer's accuracy was lacking, leading to several overthrows over the course of the night.
He made uncharacteristic decisions, including one on a ball to Metcalf in the third quarter. At the time, the Seahawks were only down 3-0 and had driven within the Packers' 15-yard line. On third down, Wilson rolled out to his left and forced a pass into a crowded end zone. He wanted to give the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Metcalf a chance to make a spectacular play. Instead, he found the open arms of Green Bay cornerback Kevin King, effectively ending Seattle's chances of tying the game with a Jason Myers field goal.
"It was DK, you know, just trying to get him a shot," Wilson reflected on the play. "I kind of scampered outside the pocket to the left and King's back was turned so I tried to zip it in there and [King] just got his head around and made a play. It's hard; you never want to second-guess yourself on those plays because you make so many of them. You know, so a lot of touchdowns that way, hit a lot of touchdowns in a lot of different circumstances. But in that kind of game where it was back and forth, back and forth, that's where I can eliminate that mistake and allow us to kick the field goal and make it 3-3 and here we go. Now it's 3-3, 0-0 game basically and keep playing. ... 100 percent accountability on myself that that happened. Nobody else's fault."
Metcalf was, understandably, less talkative in his post-game media appearance. He caught just three of eight targets for 26 yards and was credited with a pair of drops. One of which was backbreaking for the offense, coming on a 3rd and 13 from Seattle's own 17-yard line after safety Jamal Adams intercepted Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the end zone. Metcalf crisply broke inward on his slant route and looked primed to move the chains, but a failure to establish control as he turned upfield allowed cornerback Rasul Douglas to knock the ball out of his hands for an incompletion. Instead of a new set of downs, the Seahawks went three-and out, and Metcalf had his hand attended to by trainers after the play.
Only 86 seconds went off the game clock on that drive, forcing a tired defense that had fought valiantly all night back onto the field on short rest. Consequently, the Packers went on an 11-play drive that nearly lasted six minutes, resulting in the game's first touchdown on a three-yard rush by running back AJ Dillon. By that point, given how stagnant the offense was, the final nail in Seattle's coffin had been hammered in and the frustration became too hard to conceal for Metcalf.
Taunted by several Packers defenders with a little under two minutes to go, Metcalf retaliated by grabbing the facemasks of safety Henry Black and cornerback Eric Stokes. The third-year receiver was ejected from the game for his actions. His reason for acting out?
"Tired of losing."
Bizarrely, Metcalf attempted to re-enter the game two plays after his ejection was finalized. But before the offensive huddle could break, officials noticed Metcalf and sent him off to the sideline once again.
Nevertheless, Metcalf's outburst is the least of the Seahawks' concerns right now. Record-wise, they're the third-worst team in the NFC with less than half a season to go. They're coming off one of the worst losses in the Pete Carroll era with no shortage of questions that they seemingly don't have the answers to. No matter what they've tried, nothing has worked this year. Nothing has clicked. And now, emotions are starting to boil over.
This is a team that was built to win now. Everyone involved had Super Bowl aspirations heading into the month of September. Anything short of that was considered to be a failure.
Fast-forward a little over two months later and Seattle is now on track to miss the postseason entirely. It's an unmitigated disaster. And if things don't get turned around immediately, Metcalf's frustrations will only be the start of the turmoil that's sure to follow.