Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Seahawks have the best record in the NFC at 8-1, but it almost wasn't so.
The Seahawks trailed the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-0 in Week 9 before mounting the biggest comeback in franchise history.
According to NFC West Lead Writer Tyson Langland, more than a little credit for Sunday's 27-24 win belongs to wide receiver Doug Baldwin:
Coming into Week 9, the loss of wide receiver Sidney Rice was looming over offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's offense. Sure, Rice hadn't played up to expectations through the first eight weeks of the season, yet the Seattle Seahawks weren't particularly deep at the receiver position anyhow.
This, in turn, meant they needed another wideout to take his game to a whole new level in Rice's absence. Fans and media members alike expected that player to be Jermaine Kearse, but they were forgetting about one young pass-catcher who has been in the spotlight before: Doug Baldwin.
Even though Baldwin hasn't been able to match the production of his rookie season, he has proven that he is still capable of playing top-notch football when given the opportunity. And Sunday was his opportunity.
Despite two disappointing drops in the first half, Baldwin regrouped and made tough catch after tough catch down the stretch.
Without a doubt, his biggest catches came in the third and fourth quarters. Early on in the third, down 24-7, quarterback Russell Wilson hit Baldwin down the left sideline on a spectacular tip-toe catch. That throw and catch set up a touchdown run from Wilson on the very next play.
Then in the fourth quarter, when the Seahawks were down by seven, Wilson connected with Baldwin for a 10-yard score on third down. That not only tied the game but also swung the momentum in Seattle's favor. From that point on, the 'Hawks never looked back.
His box-score numbers (six catches, 75 yards and one touchdown) weren't off the charts, but Baldwin proved to be Wilson's favorite target when it mattered most.
Without him, there's no way the Seahawks would have been able to mount their historic comeback.
As well as the defense played in the second half, there's no question that Baldwin deserved the game ball in the locker room.