Anquan Boldin Has the Last Laugh

While Baltimore’s wideouts struggled, the one it gave away quickly made himself at home in the Bay; plus my thoughts on a less-explosive-than-expected Week 1

Anquan Boldin's performance in Week 1 was the second 200-yard game of his career.
Anquan Boldin’s performance against Green Bay marked his second 200-yard game; the first came in his NFL debut, in Week 1 in 2003. (Jose Luis Villegas/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)

So the season-opener featured 76 points and a quarterback performance for the ages, and there was all this explosive-offense talk, and then, on Sunday, to open the 94th NFL season, this happened:

• The Patriots, who averaged 34 points a game last year, needed an Audie Murphy performance by Danny Amendola and a Stephen Gostkowski field goal with five seconds left to beat Buffalo 23-21.

• Seven of Sunday’s 13 games totaled 40 points or less.

• Pittsburgh’s offense was shut out at home for the first 58 minutes of a 16-9 loss.

• Seattle, which scored 37 points a game on average in its last six games of 2012, managed 12 at Carolina, and still won.

• Adrian Peterson’s first carry of 2013: 78 yards. His next 17 carries: 15 yards.

• Sunday’s leading rusher: Terrelle Pryor, quarterback, Oakland. In his first NFL start, Pryor rushed 13 times for 112 yards.

But here’s my favorite stat of all from the weekend:

Baltimore’s four wide receivers Thursday night: 15 catches, 215 yards, one touchdown.

The receiver Baltimore traded away for a sixth-round pick: 13 catches, 208 yards, one touchdown.

“I think you earned that $2 million today,’’ I said to Anquan Boldin Sunday night.

“Thanks,’’ he said with an awkward laugh.

The 49ers and Ravens, as you recall, had a marriage of convenience last March. Baltimore wanted Boldin to cut his pay from $6 million to $4 million. Boldin thought being the second-best Baltimore player in the postseason (next to Joe Flacco) did not merit a pay cut and stuck to his guns. When the Ravens knew they couldn’t re-do Boldin’s deal, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh got on the phone with his brother, Jim, the Niners’ coach, and they worked out a deal. Instead of cutting Boldin, Baltimore would get something for him, a sixth-round pick. And when the 49ers lost Michael Crabtree until November with a torn Achilles, all of a sudden San Francisco had the top receiver it needed to go along with its top everything else.

I’ve never been a guy who relied on my speed anyway, but I know how to get open. And Colin and I have developed a good relationship, so it doesn’t feel like we’re new to each other at all.

The 49ers beat Green Bay in their meeting by the Bay, and Colin Kaepernick and Boldin were the main reasons. Eschewing the read-option and going to more of a pocket-passing game—offensive coordinator Greg Roman is becoming famous for throwing changeups at defenses, and everyone expected Kaepernick to have a big day running the ball—Kaepernick threw for 412 yards. More than half went to Boldin, in the biggest day since the first game of his rookie season, exactly one decade and two days ago. He caught 10 balls for 217 yards as a Cardinal in the 2003 opener.

“We scouted Green Bay the entire offseason,’’ Boldin said afterward. “We got some looks we thought we’d get. All through the offseason and in training camp, when I was working with Colin, we’d constantly be communicating. What are we seeing here, when am I breaking off what route. I’ve never been a guy who relied on my speed anyway, but I know how to get open. And Colin and I have developed a good relationship, so it doesn’t feel like we’re new to each other at all.’’

I remember when Boldin signed with Baltimore in 2010, how the Ravens raved about how quickly he adjusted to the new offense and to quarterback Joe Flacco. I looked it up this morning: He had 20 catches for 287 yards in his first three games in Baltimore. And now, on the phone from San Francisco, he sounded like an avid reader of Who Moved My Cheese? “Anytime you’re in a period in your life where there’s transition,’’ he said, “don’t fight it. Don’t resist. Buy into the system. We’ve got a good offensive coordinator here.’’

And, Boldin said, don’t hold a grudge. “I’m not bitter at all,’’ he said. “This is a business. We all understand it. [The Ravens’ decision] was a little surprising, but you can’t let that stuff bother you.”

My other Sunday storylines:

Long year for the Steelers. I’ve learned never to count out Mike Tomlin, and his players will play hard in the fourth quarter of the 16th game if they’re 0-15. But the offensive line is full of leaks, and now Maurkice Pouncey is gone for the year with a torn ACL (injury of the day), running game savior Le’Veon Bell (foot) is maybe a month away from contributing, and they’ve got to go to Cincinnati a week from tonight to face a team that looks to be passing them in the AFC North hierarchy. Not good.

Danny Amendola has a little Welker in him, and maybe a lot. Late in the first half at Buffalo, Amendola, who entered the game nursing a groin injury, pulled up in the end zone in obvious pain, grabbing the inside of his upper leg. Well, that’s it. He’s gone for six weeks. The Legend of Brittle Amendola continues. But back he came in the second half with seven catches for 64 yards in the last two quarters, converting a 3rd-and-8 on the winning field-goal drive in the final minutes. “I knew he was a tough player,’’ Shane Vereen, his new teammate, said after the game. “But for him to come back from that and play how he played in the second half, that was pretty impressive.”

Terrelle Pryor led all rushers Sunday, but it was his poise as a passer that has Raiders fans encouraged.
Terrelle Pryor led all rushers Sunday, but it was his poise as a passer that has the Raiders encouraged. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Raiders might not be good, but they might have a quarterback. Very interesting game by Pryor—217 passing yards, 112 rushing yards, one touchdown pass, one bad interception, one luckless interception—as he led the Raiders to a surprising 372-yard day in Indianapolis in his second NFL start. “This is my dream,’’ he said from Indianapolis. “I prepared all week. I prepared to lead, and I prepared to play well.” What impressed me watching Pryor: the poise not to be rattled, even when he got hit and chased by a defensive front that often overwhelmed Oakland’s line. Now, he didn’t survey the field the way a veteran quarterback does, looking at three or four options; instead he ran when the pocket broke down. But on this day, it was his best option. For a first start, it was a B-plus, and I definitely want to see more. San Francisco was supposed to have the mobile quarterback who could hurt you with his legs and his arm. Now maybe Oakland has one too. The most impressive thing from my post-game talk with Pryor came when I asked him about Al Davis. You’ll recall that one of the last significant moves by Davis before he died in 2011 was taking Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft. “I owe Mr. Davis,’’ said Pryor. “This man believed I’d be a star quarterback. He said that to me multiple times. He took a chance on me when other teams wouldn’t. And I think he was smiling down a little bit today, watching this. This may sound crazy, but every day I’m thankful for what he did for me.”

Geno Smith has at least one element of what it takes to be a New York quarterback. Thick skin, apparently. He can tune out the crap. The Jets were on their way to a 17-15 loss when Smith got whacked out of bounds—to me, the call was ticky-tack, but as Smith said, “Doesn’t matter; they called it”—and the 15-yard penalty allowed Nick Folk to be in range for a 48-yard winning field goal. A totally unlikely first victory. He was 24 of 38 for 256 yards, with a touchdown and a pick. And not affected by any of it. Isn’t it amazing to see so many rookie quarterbacks starting openers in the last couple of years (Smith, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III) be totally cool with the bigness of it all? This used to be unthinkable, starting so early. But now it’s almost expected that a passer with lots of college experience will step in and not embarrass himself. “My emotions were calm all day,’’ Smith said. “My team did a phenomenal job of bailing me out all day.’’ I asked Smith how he felt about playing against Tom Brady on a short week now, and his answer was either very practiced or very smart. “It’s not me against Tom Brady,’’ he said. “It’s the Jets against the Patriots.” And the mayhem outside the locker room? The predictions of disaster, and of Dead Coach Walking? “Doesn’t affect me one bit,’’ he said. “We’re a band of brothers in this room. We don’t care what the outside world thinks of us, and it can’t hurt us.”

I don’t think the Raiders or the Jets are going to be good. But I’ll be intrigued to watch both quarterbacks. I hope they both are given the time they need to be able to prove themselves.

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321 comments
Saintsman3
Saintsman3

Peter, it's incredible that a seemingly intelligent person like you could have missed Breaking Bad the past 6 years.  It's the best TV ever, with the possible exception of the Andy Griffith Show.

A.F.Davis
A.F.Davis

Peter...just subscribe to Netflix streaming service, you still have time to get on the Breaking Bad train!


It'll be worth...trust me!

wavemkr
wavemkr

Cowboys defense gets 6 turnovers, one of which occurred on special teams (Cowboys ST player Dwayne Harris voted NFC ST player of the week by NFL) and yet not one mention in PK's def or ST players of the week.  Let the Peter King Cowboy hating bias continue....... additional PK Cowboy hating bias..... Cowboys at 10, not because they beat the Giants, but because of "luck" because a Jersey Gov was present and because David Wilson fumbled (note he fumbled twice, Eli threw 3 INTs).  And of course be sure and remind everyone that the Giants had won four in a row at Cowboys Stadium, because that was relevant to our power ranking.

rokrjon
rokrjon

Thanks to you, I drafted Jared Cook and with my other players, I put up 218 in my PPR league.  Unfortunately, I was playing the guy who had Peyton Manning and I lost 225 - 218. 

KirkM
KirkM

I don't get the Jets hate, Peter.......???

You know...you had three Buccaneer items in your "10 things you didn't like" and I'm asking, especially concerning the penalties, do you not think the Jets defense had SOMETHING to do with that?  The media "pile on" has been insanely over done so far.  The whole "ticky tack" personal foul penalty wasn't so ticky tack.  Geno Smith is a QB and he was a full yard out of bounds.  If that were Tom Brady you would have verbally destroyed the young TB defender and some would have called for a fine.  Victim of circumstance or luck...they won the game.  A wise Defensive Coordinator, who is now the Seattle Head Coach, once told me, "You need 4 things to win a football game...talent, preparation, execution & luck."  The football Gods rarely shine on the Jets...on Sunday, they shined for a short bit.

It's quite clear the Jets defense is going to be something special as the year goes on...especially against the run and pass rush.  Personally, I don't think NE survives tomorrow night.  Too many injuries and the Jets defense has too many similarities to the Lions and I think you see a repeat of Preseason game 3...although the score might not be as high.  I expect something like 17-10 Jets.  In fact, I have either the Jets or Dolphins winning the division this year.  NE doesn't have the horses right now, they are relying on a brittle WR and, until they have Gronk back, are going to struggle for the "big play."  The loss of Vereen is huge as well.  By the time they are healthy the season will have passed them by.  9-7 wins the AFC East this year.  I'm calling it now.

I'm fairly football savvy, having played quite a few years myself, and I think you can read quite a bit into the preseason with the way the new collective bargaining agreement has training camp locked down.  These guys simply are not getting the practice anymore.  The preseason games are a far greater indicator as to how the teams are going to perform.  Philadelphia being the exception due to Kelley wanting to keep his "system" under wraps.

Outside the 49'er, Seattle, Denver & the Texans...EVERYONE looks very vulnerable.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

stop talking about teblow - its a shame how much you ride the guy's genitals and he isn't even playing in the NFL

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

I believe you should have included Rey Maluega of Cincy in your GOAT list.  Senseless personal foul that cinched the game for da Bears.

thebyron
thebyron

Not sure if I agree with your take on the Super Bowl halftime shows.  In the past decade they've had elder statesmen Paul McCartney, The Who, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen.  The Stones in particular were a ratings bonanza.

In my opinion these were all better performances than Madonna or Beyonce (you can argue about The Who; their performance was pretty mediocre) and FAR better than the awful spectacle that was The Black-Eyed Peas.

dhe1966
dhe1966

Just for the record, Michigan didn't decide not to play Notre Dame any more in Ann Arbor. ND surprised Michigan's Athletic Director last year with a letter cancelling the last 3 years of the contract. ND is keeping Big Ten lesser powers Purdue and Michigan State on their schedule, but for some reason decide to stop playing Michigan (two 38-0 demolishings in the last decade might have something to do with their decision).

SaraTonin
SaraTonin

Great example of a Sports Writer talking out of both sides of his face:


Leaves Atlanta out of his "fine 15" (whatever, I would wipe my butt with it if it wasn't digital), then later appoints Sean Payton Coach of the Week for (Qouting) beating "the FORMIDABLE Falcons."


Which is it, Petie? Are they "formidable? Or beneath your notice? Or is your mouth too strongly attached to your favs that you can't even see what you're writing?


Take
Take

Peter King is a Patriots fan in case none of you knew that:

The Raiders and Pryor DID BEAT the Colts.. The Refs beat the Raiders. There is no doubt the NFL did not want "The Bad Guys" to go into little Indianapolis in their nice stadium and soil their home opening game.. Luck ran for a TD with 5 min left, a TD that should of been called back. I never seen more holding in 1 play in 25 years of watching football. Raiders players including Charles Woodson were irate when they need no flags. In fact it was so obvious they all stared to walk back to where the ball should of been spotted. The Raiders did not even think for one moment The Refs would actually award that TD to Luck do to the blatant holding...

By the way I should also point out it was not just that one play, Both Luck TD passes as well there was massive holding. Luck got hit on both plays he threw that TD but not before at one point a Colts player was in his back holding a Raiders D line man leg for dear life BUT no flag....Touch down stands.. If that was The Oakland Raiders are you telling me the Touch Downs would stand?? I would be willing to bet my house that the Touch down would be called back.. Flags would be flying EVERY WHERE...

I'm not a Raiders fan, I just watch football and I'm bias but it does not a Peter King or any "expert" to see the NFL has been screwing the Raiders for years and that Colts game was obvious yet the media will never admit to it because the media also hates the Raiders. I believe the media hates The Raiders so much is because of Al Davis. The media loved to ick on Al Davis but why? The answer is they hate him, they despise him, because Al Davis never had a "source" when he was running the Raiders. The media simply had to guess what Al was going to do next un like other teams where the media always quotes their "sources" I believe this is the real reason why the media hates the Raiders.

JamieBergman
JamieBergman

Sorry to say that this is the last time I am going to read MMQB.

After last week's PC commentary about the Redskins, I spent the entire time reading this weeks wondering when I was going to run into a political statement that annoyed me. If it has gotten to that point, then it is time to go elsewhere for my sports reading entertainment.

Peter, I enjoyed reading your work, and as a football writer you are incredible. Good luck in the future.

epste696
epste696

Offer the option to print without images.

melanic.whoosh
melanic.whoosh

How did Danny Trevathan not make the GOTW list? How much more goatesque than dropping the ball at the one-yard-line while prematurely celebrating his TD does he have to get?

MarkBravura
MarkBravura

David DeCastro deserved a spot in your Goats of the Week for his perfected targeted chop block on his teammate Maurkice Pouncey that ended the Steelers' center's season. He couldn't have delivered a more accurate shot if he were a trained military sniper.

smileyrebel
smileyrebel

I calculate the average StubHub ticket price as:  Irish: $148, Patriots: $139, Michigan: $88, Cowboys/Washington $44.  I laugh at the patriots fans shelling out $139/game with no Tebow time included.

Carnifex
Carnifex

 One thing I think I think: If Peter King is going to complain about Bill Leavy, then he should at least have the journalistic integrity to mention that the league also rescinded the personal foul against Joe Staley which offset Clay Matthew's personal foul. It SHOULD have been first-and-goal, not 4th and 2 nor 3rd and 6. Let's not have a Packers pity party.

nyjets011269
nyjets011269

A ticky tack call ?  Not only was Smith clearly out of bounds but he is a QB.  Any extra contact against a QB is going to be called regardless.  That's just the way it is now.

macoah
macoah

great call on the educated guess. we just finished a blind tasting of cabernets at park and orchard in east rutherford, n.j. educated guess was the big winner by far. our invite to visit during super bowl week is still open. we are only a few minutes from the stadium

Richard Long
Richard Long

What I would like to know is what a terrible call, like the one in the GB/SF game, results in for the referee?  And what are the results of the grading of refs?  Remember last year, during the strike, everyone complained about how the replacement refs impacted games.  Gee, the regular guys aren't always better, are they?

IvanAJagerbomb
IvanAJagerbomb

Why do so many sports writers incorporate Twitter posts in their stories...many who make the entire article about one tweet?  If people cared about those comments, we can just do to Twitter directly.

JaredMiles
JaredMiles

"Sunday’s leading rusher: Terrelle Pryor, quarterback, Oakland. In his first NFL start, Pryor rushed 13 times for 112 yards."

It was his second NFL start.

seamillguesthouse
seamillguesthouse

I understand Peter King is not going to mention the name Redskins any more in his articles  or on this website.

Does he think his opinions are so important that he can pressure a  long standing NFL team to change there name because suddenly he agrees with some politically correct bozo. I say boycott Kings  MMQB  website and his inflated opinion of himself..

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

I think that's a silly comment about Weeden, especially since you didn't watch the game closely.

consigliari51
consigliari51

Yes, playing with a bum leg in the season opener brings to mind one of America's most decorated war heroes.  Excellent analogy.  Next week we should discuss how much Zach Sudfeld is like MacArthur.  

Funny.  Anyone else makes such an absurd comment and PK would spend half his article giving them a stern lecture about how inappopriate it was.  But hey, it's the Pats, so I guess hyperbole is warranted, huh?

CharlesKellett
CharlesKellett

Peter, your article falsely implies that Michigan jointly decided to not continue the Notre Dame series. That is incorrect. Notre Dame unilaterally cancelled future matchups.

Chickens.

Mike26
Mike26

@dhe1966 ND hasn't been any more relevant the past 30 years than Wisconsin, Georgia, Texas A&M, etc.  They are legendary only in their minds.

Tyler_Durden
Tyler_Durden

@Take a fan blaming the refs for their team's loss? Wow... never seen that before... lol

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@Carnifex :  Even as a Packer fan, I agree.  As it was happening I thought "No, don't do it Clay"  and he did it.  I thought the penalty on Staley was bogus and it should have been first and goal on the 3 yard line.  The Packers were outplayed again by the 49ers - a superior team in most aspects to Green Bay.

PhilipDutton
PhilipDutton

@nyjets011269  Couldn't agree more! And if that were Tom Brady being shoved when he was clearly out of bounds you can be sure the King would have called it "the right call". Peter King is biased against certain teams and many of us find it deplorable and a drag on the entire MMQB site. It gets old when King keeps using the word "circus" when mentioning the Jets. Try something original in your efforts, Peter.

Carnifex
Carnifex

@nyjets011269 they told Harbaugh that running QBs can be hit like RBs... but it was out of bounds, so I agree with the call. But quarterbacks running for yards are allowed to be hit hard if the ball's in their hands

WillWillis1
WillWillis1

@IvanAJagerbomb PK has been doing it for a couple of years now, though personally I always thought his motivation in drawing his readers' attention to Twitter was really to gain more followers of his own there.

I don't care either way though. About 1/3 of his columns in general are padding/filler anyway. I read what interests me and skip what doesn't.

Carnifex
Carnifex

@seamillguesthouse his writing has gotten slightly less insightful and this column progressively more uninteresting every year, yet his ego is through the roof. there's a portrait of him trying in an attic somewhere. if there's not a serious turnover soon, I won't be reading this fluff and presumption much longer

JPM
JPM

@seamillguesthouse I say lead the way, seamillguesthouse.  Show some commitment.  Don't post here anymore.

KevinMoss
KevinMoss

@CharlesKellett No matter what, it is a shame because it is one of the greatest rivalries in NCAA football.  ESPECIALLY is you live in South Bend (2 miles from Michigan border) and EVERYONE in the area loves or hates one of the two teams.

KevinMoss
KevinMoss

@CharlesKellett And several times in recent years Michigan has spoken of cancelling the contract, too...  This is the pot-calling-the-kettle-black...

Carnifex
Carnifex

@Mike26 @Richard Long shoulda been first and goal, Staley did nothing wrong unless getting punched in the face by goldilocks is illegal now

OK
OK

@KevinMoss @CharlesKellett  

Nice try, but that carries about as much weight as the Father saying, "But I was just trying to help the altar boy all those times in the rectory, Judge."

Notre Dame dumped the series, and not even Touchdown Jesus changes that FACT, chump.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@OK @JPM @seamillguesthouse I mean they got the Hogs guys as their semi-mascot already and the pig noses would be a great give-away to their fans entering the stadium.

OK
OK

@Carnifex  @CharlesKellett 

Wolverines fans also hunger for Notre Dame's litany of pedophiles to defend.

Perhaps the Fighting Irish and the Penn State Sanduskys ought to join the same conference. We'll throw in SMU, USC, and a few SEC diploma mills for additional corruption purposes.

OK
OK

@KevinMoss@CharlesKellett 

More factual history to drive you and your feeble bs back to the record, preacher. Not to fear, you'll always have Navy to horsewhip on Homecoming and Predatory Priests Defense Fund Day.

#####

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/notre-dame-pulls-series-michigan-fighting-irish-play-scheduled-game-michigan-2014-article-1.1168144

Notre Dame pulls out of series with Michigan, Fighting Irish will play last scheduled game against Michigan in 2014

Irish AD informs Michigan counterpart of decision before Saturday's game to avoid an automatic renewal of the contract.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 5:18 PM

Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 5:18 PM 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Notre Dame is opting out of its series with Michigan, meaning the last scheduled game between college football’s winningest programs will take place in 2014.

A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon cancelling games in 2015-2017 was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Brandon told the AP he was handed the letter on the field in South Bend, Ind., about an hour before Saturday night’s game.

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