Anquan Boldin is one of the toughest and most sure-handed wide receivers in the NFL, and his stellar effort helped the Baltimore Ravens edge the San Francisco 49ers in the most recent Super Bowl.
Seven months later the one-time Florida State star is now wearing the 49ers’ uniform, and his 13 catches for 208 yards stood tall in last Sunday’s 34-28 win over Green Bay in the season opener at Candlestick Park.
Boldin has no problem running across the middle of the field in order to catch a pass knowing full well a defender wants to pop him.
So when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick needed yards, he often went to Boldin, whose 10-yard reception with 8:57 left in the second quarter gave the 49ers a 14-7 lead.
That play was made possible when rookie running back Eddie Lacy fumbled at the Green Bay 14-yard line. Kaepernick was later shoved while out of bounds by linebacker Clay Matthews. Tackle Joe Staley then pushed Matthews (seven tackles and one assist), and each was tagged with a penalty.
Referee Bill Leavy ruled the fouls nullified each other, and third down would be replayed. But former NFL Supervisor of Officials Mike Pereira, who is now employed by Fox Sports, said there should have been a loss of down which would have forced the 49ers (494 total net yards) to kick a short field goal.
Kaepernick burst onto the scene midway through the 2012 campaign after playing very little in 2011, but his 181 rushing yards in the NFC Divisional game against Green Bay, the most ever by a field general in playoff history, turned heads. It didn’t hurt that Kaepernick threw for 263 yards in the 45-31 win.
Kaepernick rushed for 22 yards on seven carries, but the former University of Nevada standout passed for 412 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The 49ers (1-0) took a 7-0 lead when Kaepernick (27 of 39) found tight end Vernon Davis (98 yards on six catches) with a 20-yard strike and 2:52 left in the first quarter that capped an 83-yard, 13-play drive.
Green Bay (0-1) answered with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (21 of 37 for 333 yards and one interception) hitting wide receiver Randall Cobb (108 yards on seven receptions) with a five-yard dart and 1:05 left in the opening quarter. The 80-yard march was extended when Rodgers found Lacy with a 31-yard screen pass.
When Rodgers spotted tight end Jermichael Finley (five catches for 56 yards) with a 12-yard pass and 16 seconds left before the half, the Packers (385 total yards) tied it at 14-14.
San Francisco took command 21-14 when Kaepernick and Davis connected on a two-yard toss and 9:46 left in the third quarter, but Rodgers hit wide receiver Jordy Nelson (130 yards and seven catches) with an eight-yard offering and 3:49 remaining in the third quarter that knotted it at 21-21.
Phil Dawson’s 27-yard field goal gave the 49ers a 24-21 lead early in the fourth quarter, Lacy’s two-yard dive and 8:26 left pushed Green Bay ahead 28-24, but running back Frank Gore (21 rushes for 44 yards) added a one-yard dash with 5:47 left, and Dawson’s 33-yard kick salted the 49ers’ win.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.