Anquan Boldin has been a prophet this postseason. Prior to rematches of devastating losses against Denver (in the 2012 Regular Season) and New England (in the 2011 AFC Championship) Boldin stated that the Ravens would make the result different. When pressed to elaborate, Boldin said only “We’ll win.”
The Ravens have won three straight games this postseason due in large part to the efforts of the determined receiver. Though Boldin sometimes goes entire halves without being involved in the offense (first half vs. Indianapolis and New England), when he decides to take over a game, he does just that (second half of same games).
The following plays are evidence of the Ravens success by utilizing Anquan Boldin’s strong hands, crisp routes, and sheer will.
On 3rd-and-long the Ravens line up in a Shotgun formation with trips left.
The Pats use a simple four-man rush and play Man Free with a Robber. It is apparent that the Pats want to keep Dennis Pitta from catching the ball in the middle of the field.
Both safeties sit on Pitta running the seam leaving the field open for Boldin outside the numbers. Flacco recognizes this and throws the ball up to Boldin.
As the ball comes down, you can see that Boldin has no separation from the corner. This doesn’t matter to Flacco or Boldin. They both know who is coming down with the ball.
Boldin makes the big play and helps the Ravens offense start to gain a rhythm in the second half.
In a goal-to-go situation, the Ravens line up in a single back formation with Boldin in the slot.
The Patriots have matched Devin McCourty on Boldin. For this play to work it is crucial that Flacco’s play fake draws the linebackers down to open up the middle of the field.
The linebackers bite on the fake and McCourty is flat footed. Flacco gives Boldin a chance to make a great play on the ball.
Boldin dominates McCourty and extends the Ravens’ lead.
On a second down inside the Red Zone the Ravens line up in a four-wide formation with Boldin in the slot to the right.
The Patriots are bringing a six-man rush playing man behind it with one safety in a deep zone.
Jacoby Jones draws the deep safety in with a shallow route allowing Flacco to go to Boldin. Anquan does his part by using a quick stutter step in his route to get behind the corner.
Flacco throws the ball high to avoid the trailing corner and Boldin makes yet another great play.
Throughout these playoffs, Anquan Boldin has made many phenomenal plays look routine. He has been fearless and confident. If Boldin’s performance continues I have a feeling he will have his hands on the Lombardi Trophy in a week.