CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tyler Lockett is a tough grader.
The wide receiver made it to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, and tacked on another impressive game Sunday in the Seattle Seahawks’ 31-24 playoff loss to Carolina.
Lockett made four catches for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers, and averaged more than 30 yards on three kickoff returns.
“It could have been better,” Lockett said after the game, when asked to sum up his season. “Regardless of how anybody else looks at it, I know I could have done a lot better and contributed a lot more. Those are some things I’m going to keep working on as I get ready for the next year.”
Lockett showed remarkable concentration while pulling in a 33-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter while under tight coverage. An even better catch came in the fourth quarter, when he managed to drag his toes inbounds as he made a diving reception far out of bounds.
The catch was good for 27 yards, and the Panthers challenged the play, probably out of the belief that nobody could have pulled it in legally.
A third-round draft pick out of Kansas State, Lockett was expected to be a game-changing returner. And he demonstrated that in the second half, returning a kickoff 50 yards.
But his performance as a receiver has come as a surprise. He finished the regular season with 51 catches for six touchdowns, and also scored on a kickoff return and a punt return.
“I can’t say enough about Tyler Lockett and his mentality and his work ethic, and the way he approaches the game,” veteran Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said. “He bought into our mantra as a receiving corps, and the standard we set in our room. He’s raised the bar for any rookie who wants to come in here. I’m excited for his progress and his future because it’s very bright.”
Lockett said he thought the way the Seahawks rallied for 24 points after trailing 31-0 at halftime “showed our character to fight back and never give up. Unfortunately, we ran out of time.
“We knew it was going to be a fight and we would have to have things go our way. We just ran out of time toward the end, but we got really close.”