Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin adds two more TDs to his historic stretch

Dec 20, 2015, 7:42 PM | Updated: 10:43 pm
With two more touchdowns catches Sunday, Doug Baldwin now has 10 in his last four games. (AP)...
With two more touchdowns catches Sunday, Doug Baldwin now has 10 in his last four games. (AP)
(AP)

Doug Baldwin doesn’t have much use for fantasy football. The reason, he explained recently, is because “the value of players has become about fantasy points more so than what they bring to their team.”

It’s an understandable point coming from a wide receiver whose role in the Seahawks’ run-first offense hasn’t always been glamorous.

Until now, at least. With two more touchdowns on Sunday – his ninth and 10th over the last four games – Baldwin added to a historic stretch of production that would make fantasy football players drool.

His real-life quarterback has been awfully pleased, too.

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“Doug is playing unbelievable football,” Russell Wilson said after the Seahawks’ 30-13 win over Cleveland. “Like I said, he’s playing All-Pro football, Pro-Bowl-type football.”

A Pro Bowl nod isn’t out of the question for Baldwin given the frequency with which he continues to catch touchdown passes. To put his recent stretch in historical context:

• Baldwin’s two scores on Sunday give him 13 this season, which ties the franchise record set by Daryl Turner in 1985.

• He joins Hall of Famer Jerry Rice as the only players in league history with at least 10 receiving touchdowns in a four-game span.

• Baldwin has at least two touchdowns in four straight games, a feat that, since 1960, only Calvin Johnson and Hall of Famer Cris Carter have also accomplished.

• Taking into account the touchdown he scored in Week 10 against Arizona, Baldwin has 11 over the last six games to match his total from the previous three seasons combined.

• In addition to the touchdowns, Baldwin has already established a new career-high with 905 yards receiving, having caught four passes for 45 yards on Sunday. With two games to play, he’s on pace to become Seattle’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Bobby Engram in 2007.

“What magnificent production there,” coach Pete Carroll said.

So, what’s gotten into Baldwin?

It’s a tempting to assume that he’s elevated his level of play, but all involved have said it’s more about what has changed around him.

Start with Seattle’s offensive line, which allowed 31 sacks over the first seven games but only 10 over the last seven. Improved pass protection has made life easier on Wilson, whose recent tear has vaulted him into the MVP discussion. Wilson can’t seem to miss. His receivers, Baldwin in particular but also Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett, have benefited.

And then there’s increase in the number of passes coming Baldwin’s way. There are usually only so many balls to go around in Seattle’s offense, which perennially ranks at or near the bottom of the league in pass attempts. But over the last six games, Baldwin has been targeted 46 times, well above the rate at which he has been thrown to in the past.

That’s what he pointed to as the biggest reason for his surge in production.

“I think it’s just a product of the opportunities,” he said. “I’ve never seen this many targets ever in my career than in this stretch of games, especially red-zone targets. So as I’ve always said, we’re the most efficient receiving corps in the league; we’ve been that for years now. When you give us opportunities, we’re gonna make plays. So fortunately enough, we have been given more opportunities recently.”

Baldwin didn’t want to talk about any of the company he now keeps in the franchise and NFL record books. He cut off one question about the significance of his 13th touchdown, saying: “We’ve got two more games to go during the season…”

Which means Baldwin has two more chances to add what is already a historic stretch of production.

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Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin adds two more TDs to his historic stretch