By Brady Henderson
NEW YORK – Golden Tate doesn't necessarily seek out the unflattering opinions about Seattle's receivers, but he still sees them.
"I definitely notice it," he said this week, "and I notice because Doug Baldwin reads all those articles and he definitely shares them with us."
Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse anchor a Seahawks receiving corps that is more talented than the team's 26th-ranked passing offense suggests. (AP)
There's been little fanfare and plenty of criticism about Seattle's receivers, especially with Percy Harvin missing all but two games because of injury. That was the case before the Super-Bowl matchup led to questions about whether the Seahawks have enough firepower to keep up with Denver's record-setting offense. Peyton Manning has no shortage of weapons at his disposal, and among them are a trio of wideouts that's considered the best in the NFL.
For two teams that appear evenly matched, the reputations of their respective receiving corps couldn't be further apart.
Hall of fame receiver and ESPN analyst Cris Carter compared the two earlier this week when he joined 710 ESPN Seattle and said – among other things – that Baldwin wouldn't be a starter if he played for Denver.
"He's just OK as a receiver," Carter told Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman. "I mean, there's nothing special about him. Look at his numbers."
Baldwin hears it constantly, both about himself and Seattle's other receivers.
"That we're average, that we're pedestrian, that we're appetizers – just because we don't put up the gaudy numbers," he said. "Everybody has their opinion. It doesn't make their opinion an intelligent one. You can't just look at stats without context."
The Seahawks had the NFL's 26th-ranked passing offense in the regular season, none of their top three receivers – Tate, Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse – topping 1,000 yards or scoring more than five touchdowns. There's one reality, Baldwin said, that critics fail to take into account when looking just at the receiving totals, which is that Seattle attempted the second-fewest passes of any team in the NFL.
"And if you look at that but then look at the efficiency of the receivers and you put that context together," he said, "you would see that this receiving corps is pretty decent."
Stats other than just the yardage and touchdown totals paint a prettier picture. Seattle's 63.6 percent completion rate was ninth in the NFL. Tate and Baldwin both finished among the top 20 in catches gaining more than 25 yards. Just over 49 percent of Baldwin's targets produced first downs, third-best in the league.
Still, the perceptions about Seattle's receivers remain the same.
"You can't worry about stuff you can't control," he said. "I can't control how many balls are going to be thrown my way, I can't control what the media says, I can't control what people on Twitter say. But I can control how I prepare this week, I can control how I play on Sunday and I plan on just giving our team the best chance to win and making some big plays."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.