Going into the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, there was plenty of talk about the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers. It was primarily negative talk, with many calling Seattle's group mediocre, especially without Percy Harvin, who missed the game with a concussion.
That didn't stop wide receiver Doug Baldwin from having a huge game for Seattle. Baldwin had a 51-yard catch in the second quarter that started the wheels turning on Seattle's offense, and had six catches for 106 yards by the end of the game. Seattle's second-half surge on offense was instrumental in the victory.
The catches aren't always there for Baldwin, as noted by Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News. Seattle's offense is not built around its wide receivers, and with Marshawn Lynch being the starting running back, it's easy to see why.
Lynch is among the best running backs in the NFL and probably the hardest one to bring down. The Seahawks push the ball forward with Lynch, who obviously has been instrumental in the team's success. But it's Baldwin who has been making plays in the passing game.
Baldwin had a huge play against the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round as well, a 24-yard catch on the sideline on a third down late in the fourth quarter. He finished the regular season with 50 receptions for 778 yards and five touchdown receptions. This year has definitely been his coming out party, his third year in the NFL.
And he plays with a chip on his shoulder -- or, as he says, a boulder -- and is setting out to prove everyone who called him "pedestrian" wrong, as Samuel notes in the piece above. Baldwin has a solid opportunity to do as much when the Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
There's a lot of talk about Harvin and his injuries, and what he can bring to the Seattle offense at the end of the day. But Denver's No. 27-ranked pass defense is a target Baldwin will be eager to exploit, and recent history suggests he'll be able to do so.