Just how much more productive were the Broncos’ receivers than those of the Seahawks? Seattle’s top receiver Golden Tate had fewer receptions and touchdowns than four Broncos during the regular season.
But don’t mistake that for a drastic discrepancy ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII. That’s just the way it is when Peyton Manning is slinging the ball all over the field.
Demaryius Thomas is Manning’s top target, having hauled in 92 receptions for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns. Eric Decker wasn’t far behind with 87 catches, 1,288 yards and 11 scores. Wes Welker was limited to 13 games, but still managed 73 receptions for 778 yards and 10 TDs. Even tight end Julius Thomas, who entered 2013 with one catch in his first two years as a pro, hauled in 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 TDs.
Any of these stat lines is roughly the same or far better than that of any Seahawk. Tate led the way with 64 catches, 898 yards and five scores, followed by Doug Baldwin’s 50 receptions, 778 yards and five TDs.
Seattle paid a lofty price to acquire Percy Harvin last offseason, but various injuries have limited him to seeing action in just one regular-season and one playoff game. He’s expected to be out on the field for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and, when healthy, he is one of the most dynamic receivers in the league. However, it will be hard to gauge before game day just how much he can contribute for Seattle.
That said, in a game in which cold weather will be a factor, perhaps the passing game won’t play as great a role.