On Sunday, the whole world caught the first glimpse of the Colin Kaepernick-Anquan Boldin combination. If anyone says that they weren’t surprised by what they saw, then they are probably lying. With all of the negativity that was thrown around during the off-season, it’s no wonder why so many people were surprised by the performance the two players put on earlier this week.
“He’s too old.” “He’s lost a step.” “He can’t even run anymore.” “He isn’t even that good.” These are the things that 49ers fans heard all offseason from Ravens fans about Boldin. Day after day, there were more reasons and excuse of why he won’t be effective anymore.
49ers fans also heard about how Kaepernick and Boldin had very quickly developed good chemistry during the offseason. Everyone took those reports with a grain of salt because everyone hears the same thing about every quarterback on every team. “[Insert QB] has developed a nice relationship with [insert newly acquired WR], and they are both looking to have big seasons this year.”
But no one could have seen what was going to happen. Everyone expected Boldin to take over the No. 1 wide receiver role since Michael Crabtree went down with an Achilles injury, but not to the extent that we saw in the first game of the season. Kaepernick and Boldin went above and beyond the expectations and even did more than Kaepernick and Crabtree did all of last season. But will the connection remain dominant?
The dominance of Kaepernick to Boldin will last throughout the season barring any injuries. It’s pretty safe to say that Kaepernick will give Boldin a healthy amount of targets and it will look something like how Kaepernick trusted Crabtree were last year. On a team with young, inexperienced receivers, Kaepernick will rely on the veteran Boldin and will lean on him a lot. Boldin has proven that he can handle the load and help carry the passing offense.
Kaepernick connected with Boldin 13 times for 208 yards and one touchdown. Now it would be absurd to assume that this kind of play would continue for the entire season, because Kaepernick and Boldin put up once-in-a-season numbers. But with the kind of connection that these two players have, who knows what their ceiling is?
Everyone can already see the trust Kaepernick has in Boldin. When the 49ers needed a big play, who did they turn to? Anquan Boldin. Whether it was going up between two defenders to convert a key third down, or catching a pass that set up the go-ahead touchdown, or getting open to convert a huge fourth down, Boldin was up to the task. The Packers couldn’t stop him, so who’s to say that anyone else will?
But now everyone expects defenses to focus on Boldin and try to contain him. If that’s the case, then how can Kaepernick and Boldin even hope to stay dominant?
Last season, we witnessed the same kind of chemistry that we saw between Kaepernick and Boldin with Kaepernick and Crabtree. The Kaepernick to Crabtree connection, including playoffs, went for 63 catches for 898 yards and 8 touchdowns. Teams knew that Kaepernick was searching for Crabtree and wanted to throw to him. Even with the defenses’ focus on him, Crabtree was still able to put up great numbers and have big games. Knowing this, I don’t think it is too farfetched to think that the same could happen with Kaepernick and Boldin.
I’m not saying expect 200 yard games every week, but expect Boldin to come up with big plays in big situations just like he did on Sunday. The Ravens won the Super Bowl because of the big plays the Boldin made during the playoffs last year. 49ers fans know this from firsthand experience.
So all in all don’t expect these kinds of games from Boldin every week, but if Sunday’s game is any indication, then there Crabtree’s presence has been replaced and coupled with Vernon Davis along with the return of Mario Manningham and hopefully Crabtree, there is no need to worry about the passing attack.
Tags: San Francisco 49ers