Focus on: Anquan Boldin

Posted Sep 11, 2013

In their home opener on Sunday night, the Seahawks won’t be facing only the defending NFC Champions; they’ll also be going up against the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Anquan Boldin.

If a 13-catch, 208-yard effort doesn’t get you NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, what will? That’s what Anquan Boldin did in the San Francisco 49ers’ opening-day victory against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, and that’s why the veteran wide receiver won the weekly honor.

Also nominated were 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who passed for 412 yards and three touchdowns; and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who had his first 300-yard passing performance in a regular-season game and completed 76 percent of his passes.

But Boldin’s performance was especially special because there have been only three 10-plus catch, 200-plus yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend, and Boldin has two of them. But then Boldin, who was traded to the 49ers by the Baltimore Ravens after playing San Francisco in the Super Bowl, is a special receiver.

“There’s nobody like Boldin. He’s just a fantastic football player,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday, when the Seahawks began practice for their nationally televised home opener against the 49ers on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. “There’s really nothing that he can’t do.”

Like replacing leading receiver Michael Crabtree, who had 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns last season but is sidelined after rupturing an Achilles tendon in May.

“He’s taking the place of Michael Crabtree as the big go-to numbers guy,” Carroll said. “Crabtree was a big deal in their offense and all of those same kinds of routes are the ones Anquan is running.”

How do the Seahawks plan to content with Boldin? “Just cover him,” Carroll said with a chuckle before adding, “You’ve got to cover him and rush the passer.”

And sometimes that’s not enough. “The problem with Anquan is you can cover him and he can still make the play because he’s such a dominate catcher,” Carroll said. “Guys can hang all over him and it doesn’t faze him at all.”

That about says it all, right? Not quite.

“Some guys have extraordinary awareness in space,” Carroll said. “They know where guys are. They can feel it. They know the spaces in the game. They can fit into them. And added to that, some guys also add the basketball kind of awareness when you can feel bodies on you and know how to position yourself to make space for the ball to get in.

“Anquan has all of that. He gets off the ground really well. He’s very strong. You can’t knock him off course. … He’s an incredible football player.”

What has Boldin’s arrival meant for the 49ers’ offense?

“The fact that he was NFC (Offensive) Player of the Week speaks volumes,” said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. “He’s a very strong, courageous player who seems to catch every ball thrown his way.”