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Anquan Boldin Posts 208-Yard Debut

Posted Sep 8, 2013

The 11-year veteran caught 13 passes for 208 yards with a 10-yard touchdown in his 49ers regular season debut.

Anquan Boldin grew up as a 49ers fan. He loved Ronnie Lott more than Jerry Rice.

Even so, the 11-year veteran played a like a hybrid of both Pro Football Hall of Famers in his 49ers debut on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards with a 10-yard touchdown in San Francisco’s 34-28 home victory.

Boldin posted the most Week 1 receiving yards in 49ers history, beating a mark of 169 receiving yards, previously held by Rice. In addition, Boldin finished the game with his second most single-game receiving yards.

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Boldin’s 200-yard debut wasn’t his first such performance with a new team. A decade ago, Boldin posted 217 yards in his first game in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003.

There have only been three, 10-plus, 200-yard receiving performances on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history, Boldin is responsbible for two of them.

Was there anything special coinciding with the 11-year veteran’s big outing with his third team?

“I guess it’s debut games in the NFC West,” Boldin said with a dry look on his face.

Boldin expected to make a big impact with his new team and that’s exactly what he did. The physical wideout made improbable catches look routine. Even with Packers defenders draped all over him, Boldin found ways to haul in the football at its highest point.

Boldin’s eye-catching debut left his new teammates thoroughly impressed.

“He showed me he’s a monster,” said 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who also enjoyed a standout day with two touchdown catches against the Packers.

Davis went up to Boldin later in the game and let him know his true feelings.

“You’re a beast,” Davis said, summarizing the conversation. “I applauded him and his effort in helping this team win.”

Boldin's effort impacted the game more than in the stat sheet. He found ways to help the 49ers in critical points of the game.

After a mini fracas broke out in the second quarter between left tackle Joe Staley and Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews, Boldin made sure to erase offsetting penalties that put the 49ers in a third-and-goal scenario from 10 yards out.

The veteran wideout did something he’s made a living off in his 11-year career, Boldin darted through the middle of the field on a slant, caught Colin Kaepernick’s rifled pass and lowered his shoulders on his way into the end zone.

Boldin’s first career touchdown catch with the 49ers was just the start of a big day.

After posting 73 receiving yards in the first half, Boldin continued to come up big in the final 30 minutes of action. His final catch of the game, a 15-yard reception, came on a critical 4th-and-2 with San Francisco holding a 3-point lead.

Boldin came up enormous once again. He moved the chains and helped the 49ers set up a 33-yard Phil Dawson field goal for the game’s final points.

“Fabulous game by Anquan Boldin,” Jim Harbaugh said after he became the first coach in franchise history to win three home openers to begin a coaching career. “I don’t know how many yards he had, but there were a lot. A couple hundred maybe and some tremendous catches.”

Harbaugh said the chemistry between Kaepernick and Boldin was very much like the on-field relationship the two have showcased on the practice fields.

Only this time it was unleashed in front of the world.

As for acquiring Boldin for a sixth-round draft pick, the 49ers coach couldn’t help but remark about the significance of the offseason trade with the Baltimore Ravens.

“It feels great to have him,” Harbaugh said. “We did give up a draft for him and paying him a lot of money, but definitely think he’s definitely worth every penny.”

Kaepernick, too, raved about the future possibilities with his new No. 1 wideout.

“He played like a grown man today,” Kaepernick, the 412-yard passer, said. “If he plays like that, he’ll get the ball more.”
For his part in the equation, Boldin expects the relationship with his new quarterback to only improve the longer the two work together. He wasn’t the No. 1 option on all 13 of his receptions on Sunday, but Kaepernick found his way to Boldin on numerous occasions.

“I think the more we play together, the better we’ll be,” Boldin said.

Considering the first outing in a live NFL game was 208 yards, a better outing is a scary thought for the 15 games remaining on San Francisco’s schedule.

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