Super Bowl Comparison – Wide Receivers
On paper this looks like a runaway for Arizona. Not only do they possess arguably the best Wide Receiver in the league in Larry Fitzgerald, they also have Anquan Boldin, who is perhaps a top ten talent.
Fitz not only produced in the regular season (96 catches, 1431 yards, 12 TDs) he has set the standard for playoff production with his NFL record 419 receiving yards through three games. He has five TDs in the playoffs as well. He has at least 100 yards or a TD in 16 of the 19 games he’s played in this year. He has at least 100 yards and a score in his last five games. He has great leaping ability, great hands, impeccable body control, and the power to shed tackles. The scary thing is he wasn’t even the best wideout on his team for a stretch.
That honor belonged to Boldin, who had 513 yards and 6 TDs in Weeks 8-12 following his return from his vicious hit. During that same stretch Fitz had 464 yards and 1 TD. I think, in part, Warner felt terrible about the hit Boldin took and subconsciously was repaying that debt. I wonder if the blowup over the weekend will lead to more balls thrown Anquan’s way. The extra rest should help and I’m fairly certain Fitz has the Steelers’ attention. Boldin could find himself very busy on Super Bowl Sunday.
Steve Breaston also enjoyed a fine season with 77 catches for 1006 yards and 3 TDs. He was also a decent return guy. He has seven catches for 77 yards in the playoffs. I don’t expect his number to be called to often. Finally, Jerheme Urban had some success this year. He caught 34 passes for 448 yards and 4 TDs. He hasn’t been much of a playoff factor.
While not as sexy as the Cardinal Wide Receivers, Pittsburgh isn’t lacking in that department. Hines Ward is one of the most complete wideouts in the league. He has great hands, runs crisp routes, and is one of the best blockers at his position. He had 81 catches for 1043 yards and 7 TDs in the regular season. He leads the Steelers with 7 catches for 125 yards in the playoffs. He hurt his knee in the win over Baltimore, but there is little chance he won’t be ready in the Super Bowl. He’s too darn tough to sit that one out. Santonio Holmes regressed a bit this season (942 yards and 8 TDs in ’07 to 821 yards and 5 TDs in ’08). He’s having a pretty good run in the playoffs though with a couple of long scores (one receiving, one punt return). He has 95 yards on four catches. He is plenty capable of making another big play in Tampa. Finally, Nate Washington is a pretty solid #3 WR. He had 40 catches for 631 yards and 3 TDs during the regular season and six catches for 51 yards in the playoffs. All of these wideouts are a step down from their counterparts, but they are good at what they do in their Offense.