Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) makes a catch against Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey (24) during the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Baldwin an unsung top performer

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin is one of the smartest and most efficient receivers in the league, and I’m always a fan of players who are as well-rounded as Baldwin. He runs clean routes, he knows how to find the soft spots in zone coverage, like the other Seahawks receivers he has a very safe pair of hands, and he’s also fast enough to stretch the field vertically. Baldwin came into yesterday’s game as the leading receiver on either team in yards per target with 11 yards per pop, and that stat is a testament to his league-leading efficient play that has greatly aided Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense. And oh, I almost forgot to note that Baldwin is a solid and willing blocker on the outside, and he showed it on one particular play last night.

The Seahawks leading receiver against the Denver Broncos, Baldwin had a great time beating veteran Champ Bailey’s coverage a number of times. The most glaring “win” for Baldwin was on a big 37-yard catch, which was the biggest play from scrimmage in the game. Running a corner route after being lined up in the left slot, Baldwin pretended to cut in, and Bailey completely bit on the fake and took himself out of the play. The rest was easy, as Baldwin broke free and hauled in the long pass from Wilson.

He finished with five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown, and those five receptions came on all five of the  targets he received. That means that Baldwin averaged a whopping 13.2 yards per target, and he was an underrated staple in the Seahawks passing attack right until the end. It’s pretty interesting to see how under-the-radar guys like Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are, so it was good to see them make big plays on the big stage and generate some more national attention. What I also really like about Baldwin is his versatility lining up either in the slot or on the outside, and teams greatly appreciate wide receivers who are adept at playing in different alignments.

As for Baldwin’s blocking play, he played a big role in Percy Harvin’s 30-yard run to the left side. It was drawn up perfectly by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, as it too full advantage of Harvin’s ridiculous speed and really caught the Broncos defense off guard. Even though it would have been a good play without his blocking, Baldwin completely drove the CB he was blocking several yards back to give Harvin significant yardage on his run en route to the 30-yard play.

All of Baldwin’s receptions either moved the chains or put the Seahawks in a good position based on down and distance, so it’s safe to say that he had himself a big day. Heck, he caught everything thrown at him and was somebody the Broncos consistently had to keep tabs on throughout.

Tags: Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks

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