SEATTLE — Thank goodness the Seattle Seahawks picked up that guy from New England.
Not Josh Gordon. That chapter starts next week.
Rather, it was Jacob Hollister, also a former Patriot, who showed up big Sunday, catching his first two career touchdown passes, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Seahawks beat Tampa Bay 40-34 in an NFL game at CenturyLink Field.
“He came through,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Hollister. “Two big touchdown passes. Of course, he gets the game-winner. Kind of a walk-off, you know. I’m really proud of him.
“We hoped he would be able to be a factor like this, and he’s coming through.”
Hollister was one of three Seattle receivers who set career marks for receptions as Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson carved up the Tampa Bay defense through the air.
Tyler Lockett caught 13 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, and rookie D.K. Metcalf had six catches for 123 yards and one touchdown.
Wilson bolstered his MVP candidacy by completing 29 of 43 passes for 378 yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions.
“I’m blessed,” Metcalf said. “I’m blessed to have a quarterback like Russell.”
“I’m glad he’s my quarterback,” he said of Wilson.
In effect, Wilson engineered a game-winning drive twice, driving Seattle to a missed 40-yard field goal attempt on the last play of regulation and then taking them 75 yards in 10 plays on the only drive of overtime.
“With Russell back there, it don’t matter,” Carroll said while dancing around questions about his defense and kicking game. “You have a chance. You have a chance no matter what’s going on. He played phenomenal football today.”
Wilson’s final throw Sunday was a 10-yard touchdown pass to Hollister, who entered the game with 13 career receptions in three years of limited duty in New England and Seattle.
Seattle traded a seventh-round draft pick to New England for Hollister, who spent the first five weeks of the season on the practice squad. He joined the active roster when Will Dissly got hurt, and when Luke Willson got injured Sunday, missing a good portion of the game, Hollister was the last man standing at tight end.
He finished with four receptions for 37 yards, both career highs, and his first two touchdowns.
“It was awesome,” Hollister said. “It was a lot of fun. Just playing for this football team in general is a lot of fun. It was incredible. I loved it.”
Hollister barely got into the end zone on the game-winning play.
“Everything slows down a little bit, like that last play,” he said. “You catch it, I’m turning. Everything kind of pauses when you get hit.
“And then it just goes crazy,” Hollister said of the victory celebration. “I almost died in that. People were piling on me at the end.”
While Hollister was making a mark for the first time, Lockett continued to add to his glistening resume.
Not only did Lockett set a career high for receptions in a game on Sunday, he also set a personal best for catches in a season after just nine games. He has 59 receptions this season and six touchdowns.
“Tyler Lockett is ridiculous,” Carroll said. “He’s so good. Thirteen catches today, a lot of tough things, and the variety of things that he did, the touchdown passes.
“He just continues to be marvelous to watch, so we’re fortunate,” Carroll said. “We’re all fortunate to be watching these guys.”
That would include Metcalf, the rookie from Mississippi who is blossoming before our very eyes.
His 53-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter was exactly what the Seahawks envisioned when they selected him in the second round of this year’s draft.
Getting single coverage because Tampa Bay (2-6) double-teamed Lockett on the play, Metcalf blew past his defender, caught a perfectly placed ball from Wilson angling toward the right sideline and then outran the defender into the end zone.
“It was his best game he’s had,” Carroll said of Metcalf. “You know when he catches the ball on the crossing route, he’s gone. That was really exciting to see that. He’s going to be a big factor when we go down the stretch here.”
Metcalf also set up the game-winning touchdown with an acrobatic 29-yard reception down the left sideline in overtime.
“He was lights out,” Wilson said of Metcalf, who has 29 receptions and five touchdowns in his rookie season. “Tough catches. Great speed. Great acceleration. Just running away from guys. He’s been a star for us all year so far, and hopefully we get to keep it that way.”
To this mix, the Seahawks (7-2) will add Gordon, who has Pro Bowl talent but has played in just 58 games in eight seasons, primarily because of off-field issues. The Patriots released him last week.
“I’m looking forward to it, man,” Lockett said. “I think he’s going to fit in here perfectly.”
Lockett doesn’t expect Gordon to be a problem or have a problem in Seattle’s locker room, which has always had room for diverse personalities.
“We’re going to walk with him and we’re going to love him throughout everything,” Lockett said. “I think he’s going to be a tremendous fit in our offense. I think we’re going to have him do a lot of great things.”
It’s hard to imagine the passing game improving much on Sunday’s performance as everybody from Wilson to Lockett to Metcalf to, yes, Jacob Hollister, looked like an All-Pro.
“These guys are good football players, and they’re playing their hearts out,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited about getting it done.”