"The last game we played against Carolina, we were talking about how [Russell Wilson] overthrew me, so I told him to never underthrow me," Lockett said. "This time I made sure he wasn’t going to overthrow me so I took off 40 to 45 yards before I looked back. The ball hung up there for a long time, but it was one of those plays where I was like, ‘I’ve gotta catch it,’ and luckily I did."
Lockett has 4.40 speed and is 5-foot-10, 182 pounds. His strength is blowing by defenders, not making contested catches. If the ball is overthrown, Lockett can accelerate. If it's underthrown, the Seahawks are likely looking at an incompletion.
In previous weeks, Lockett was getting open downfield consistently, but the timing with Wilson was off, and the pair was unable to connect. That changed on Thursday night. The Seahawks set up in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends). Jimmy Graham was out of the game, while Luke Willson and Will Tukuafu were on the line of scrimmage. With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, it had all the looks of a first-down running play.
Wilson executed the fake and the Seahawks sent only two receivers into pass routes, giving them eight players in protection.
The throw actually floated in the air and replays showed that cornerback Tramaine Brock may have gotten a hand on the ball. That makes Lockett's concentration at the end of the play as impressive as anything.
"The execution of the big play was perfect," said head coach Pete Carroll. "It was really beautiful job of protection and the quarterback throwing, and he ran the route to get open, and the execution of the catch, too. It was a challenge at the back end. That was just a beautiful play for us. One of the best plays of the year, I think."
Lockett entered the game having played 55.5 percent of the Seahawks' offensive snaps. He played 40 of 72 snaps against the 49ers.
On the season, he's averaging 12.8 yards per reception, but don't be surprised if that number grows significantly in the final nine games. Lockett has at least one catch of 20-plus yards in three of his last four games. And it's clear that his ability to stretch the field adds a new layer to the Seahawks' offense.
"That guy’s a special player, Tyler Lockett," Wilson said. "He did a great job getting away from the guys to give him a chance down the field and made a great catch in the end zone. Those are the types of things he can do."
Added Carroll: "I hope we can continue to find him deep. He’s obviously a big threat."