The San Francisco 49ers showed that they can win by passing the ball as well as their power running game. Colin Kaepernick put up impressive numbers as he had over 400 yards passing along with three touchdowns. One of the touchdowns went to Anquan Boldin. Boldin also had 208 yards receiving in his debut with the 49ers.
It seemed like Boldin was in the zone against the Green Bay Packers. He was able to settle into numerous windows in the Packers zone defense and give Kaepernick a reliable target to throw to. Boldin was the first 49ers wide receiver to get two hundred yards receiving since Terrell Owens did so back in 2000. He showed that he is fully capable of still playing and being productive.
Boldin is a former quarterback and has a very clear understanding of how the passing game works. He knows how to frame himself for the quarterback and give him a big target to throw to. “On every play I am coming to the sideline and he is asking me what I am seeing. I am asking him the same thing. If there’s anything that he wants me to do different. There’s a lot of communication between us.”
He has said that he is very happy to play with a quarterback like Kaepernick that can keep the play going. This is because it allows him to break off his route and get open a bit easier as Kaepernick attacks the line of scrimmage with his eyes up field.
This is exactly how the two connected on a thirty yard gain in the third quarter. Kaepernick ran towards the line of scrimmage and saw the safety go with Vernon Davis on a crossing route. This opened up a good part of the field for Boldin. He saw this as well and turned the route up field to get wide open.
Even when Boldin is covered, he is open. The way he plays the game makes me call him a hungry wide receiver. Eric Davis of the NFL Network referred to him as a grown man. On one play, Boldin was targeted on a throw by Kaepernick despite being in double coverage. He went up and got the football in between two defenders for another big gain.
Boldin hinted at how he approaches every target he gets from his quarterback. “It’s my job to catch the ball. Any time Kap throws the ball my way I want to make sure that it is a completion. I want to build that confidence.” Kapernick targeted Boldin 18 times and they completed 13 of them.
Boldin showed that he is fully capable of still playing and being productive. One of his teammates spoke about that. Vernon Davis ended his post game presser with high praise for Boldin. “He showed me that no matter what year you are in, how old you are, you can still come out and be a monster. I applaud him and his efforts to help this team win. He did a tremendous job and I am very thankful to have him on this team.”
The thing that is so endearing about Boldin is how he has such a business like approach to the game. He is a true professional. He doesn’t take any plays off and plays to the whistle all of the time. His physical approach to the game wins over his teammates.
One of my favorite plays by him was actually not on a passing play. It was on a scramble by Kaepernick on a third down. Boldin made a crushing block on Jarrett Bush towards the end of the play. Not all receivers make those kind of pancake blocks. Those are the kind of little things that teammates see and it sets a great example of how to play the game full speed all of the time.
The acquisition of Anquan Boldin has already paid off for the 49ers. It will continue to do so. Michael Irvin referred to the trade of a sixth round pick for Boldin as one of the biggest acquisitions in the off season. Getting a player like Boldin for a sixth round pick is worth it simply because of the effect that he will have on his teammates.
The younger receivers have taken to him. Quinton Patton in particular has really used Boldin as a source to make the adjustment into the NFL easier. Jonathan Baldwin sought out advice from Boldin same day that he got to San Francisco from Kansas City. He knew to seek him out because of conversations that he had with Steve Breaston, a receiver who Boldin took under his wing back in their days as Arizona Cardinals.
Every game is not going to have the same results as the Packers game but you can rest assured that Boldin will be in beast mode for the remainder of the season. It is the only way that he knows how to do it. Whenever Kaepernick is in trouble he can look for number 81 and be confident that it will result in a completion.