It's been more than 18 years since a Seahawks player accomplished what Doug Baldwin did in Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Seattle wide receiver hauled in touchdowns of 16, 30, and 80 yards in Sunday's 39-30 win at CenturyLink Field to become the first Seahawks player since Joey Galloway in 1997 to have three receiving touchdowns in a single game.
"Little league, probably," Baldwin said postgame when asked if he could recall the last time he recorded three scores in one game. "And I wasn't a receiver. I was a running back, so I had a lot more opportunities."
Baldwin's career-high three touchdown balls - which he brought with him to his postgame press conference - were part of a five touchdown effort from quarterback Russell Wilson, whose other two scoring strikes went to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks' sixth score against the Steelers came from running back Thomas Rawls, meaning all six of Seattle's touchdowns in its win over Pittsburgh came by players who were signed as undrafted rookie free agents - Baldwin in 2011, Kearse in 2012, and Rawls in 2015.
"It was cool," Kearse said of Baldwin's day. "It was great to see our guys playing well and balling like that. Me and Doug are real competitive guys. He had some nagging injuries coming in from last week and he just stayed on it. He was in the treatment room this week doing whatever he could to be out there on the field today. That just shows a testament of his character and his hunger to be great. He showed out today."
Baldwin's day also included a career-high 145 yards receiving, 80 of which he racked up on a fourth-quarter catch and run for a touchdown that helped ice the 39-30 victory. The play came as the Seahawks, who finished the day 7-of-13 on third down (54 percent), faced third-and-10 from their own 20-yard-line, where Baldwin said he liked what he saw as he approached the line of scrimmage.
"I went out there and lined up and knew it was man-to-man right away, they had all the defensive backs over and I just kept shaking my head yes, like, 'Russ, give me a chance,' and he did," said Baldwin. "Threw the ball a little early, it caught me, but he gave me a chance and I was able to make something happen."
"Amazing, long touchdown catch," added Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. "The catch was fantastic."
Antwon Blake, the Steelers cornerback responsible for Baldwin in man-to-man coverage on the play, received a quick stiff arm from Baldwin that allowed Baldwin to create space for himself up the sideline. Blake, though, as Baldwin admitted, is fast, and could have possibly caught up with Baldwin if not for a timely block from rookie wideout Tyler Lockett, who was chasing the play from behind.
"I definitely want to take the time to give a shoutout to my boy Tyler Lockett," Baldwin said. "Number 41 [Blake], he's fast, he was trying to catch up to me and Tyler's faster, so he caught up to him and gave him a wonderful block in order for me to get into that end zone.
"That's the epitome of our team. It doesn't matter who's got the ball in their hand, or what anybody else is doing, we're all fighting for each other, so Tyler Lockett showed that on that play and I can't thank him enough for that."
With six touchdowns on the season, Baldwin has set a career high, topping the five scores he hauled in during the Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVIII championship season in 2013.
"All of us have fun," said Lockett. "We feed off each other every time. Whether it's the defense making plays, or whether it's Doug or Jermaine or whoever it is, Thomas Rawls, whoever makes the play we're up there celebrating with him and cheering for him. That just creates a lot of energy and the atmosphere begins to change and you don't worry about you, or what you want to do, or what you want to achieve.
"All that we focus on is the team, and that's what helps us be successful."