Cardinals’ Budda Baker floored by D.K. Metcalf’s ability to run him down after INT: ‘I’ve never been hawked’


D.K. Metcalf is inhuman. Never mind the fact he awed at the 2019 NFL Combine with measurements that suggest he has Herculean DNA. It’s much more about the fact he’s overcome doubters who didn’t believe he’d return to form after a season-ending neck injury suffered in 2018 at Ole Miss, and just how dominant he’s become — now seemingly as a defensive player, too. On Sunday night, following a Budda Baker interception on Russell Wilson that was a readymade pick six, Metcalf fired up the turbos and walked Baker down to the point it looked like the Cardinals safety was stuck in mud, tackling him and saving a touchdown.

For reference, Baker is no slowpoke. He has 4.45 speed and is easily one of the best, and fastest, players on any NFL field at any given time. The problem for Baker is Metcalf is jet-fueled at 4.33 — his 40-yard dash at the combine — and it was on full display in Week 7. So much so Baker is floored by what happened, noting he’s never been tracked down like that in his life.

“I was running, and next thing you know, I see big 14 coming after me,” he said after the game, via the team’s official website. “He got me. That’s the first time I’ve ever been hawked in my entire life.”

Baker also took to Twitter to salute Metcalf, still in awe at what happened on the play.

And here’s the play in real time: 

Metcalf was roughly 11 yards away from Baker when the INT occurred, and covered a total of 114.8 yards at a top speed of 22.64 mph — per Next Gen Stats — to shut Baker down after a 90-yard return. Metcalf’s top speed is the second-fastest by a tackler this season, and registered nearly an entire added mph over Baker’s, which was a spry 21.27 mph on the play. 

“That was one of the best football plays I’ve ever seen,” head coach Pete Carroll said of the play. “It was just remarkable. You saw him realize what was happening, the opportunity, and he just used all that marvelous skill that he had and will to go run the guy down. And it was such an incredible play because of what happened afterwards. The defense followed and rallied, got out of there on four downs and took the ball off them, the offense goes [97] yards with the drive and scores. 

“I just think that it was an inspiring play, nobody could miss it. Everybody that was watching that play, whether you like football or not, you can see that was something extraordinary. I’ve just never seen one quite like that, and the follow up, because of the inspirational moment was extraordinarily well done, so really a great play for all time.”

Russell Wilson agrees, and not simply because it kept an interception from being a pick six, but because of the athleticism and effort it took to make such a play happen. 

“It was one of the most remarkable plays I’ve ever seen,” Wilson said. “He just kept going, man. It was just unbelievable play by him, just the effort. I really respect him for that. 

“That’s what it takes, just a winning effort. Like I’ve told you guys, he’s one of the best players in the league, he’s one of the most special guys I know, he’s one of my best friends, and I really respect him. Not just because of his effort on that particular play, but that’s who he is, that’s who he is, every day. He’s consistent in that way so that’s what I love him for.”

The amazement permeated the entire locker room, and even the super-speedy Tyler Lockett had to pick his jaw up off of the floor.

“That was amazing play,” Lockett said. “Honestly, that was probably one of the best plays that we’ve had this year. When you see how Budda caught the ball and how he was 15 yards in front of everybody almost, just the fact that he never gave up — he took off, he caught him, he stopped him, and not only that, but they didn’t even score. Not even a field goal. And then we drove down and we scored after that. 

“That was a big-time play. That was a big-time play by a big-time player, and that was one of the best plays that you can see him make without him touching the ball.”

The Seahawks went on to drop a close one by the score of 37-34 in overtime, but Metcalf did all he could to help prevent it from happening. Even if that meant instantly morphing from one of the best receivers in the game to a top-notch defensive back, unwilling to relent and channeling his inner superhero to remind Baker there are two types of speed. 

There’s fast, and then there’s “Metcalf fast”.





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