49ers-Cardinals matchup No. 1: Anquan Boldin vs. Patrick Peterson
Anquan Boldin is a three-time Pro Bowler in 10 NFL seasons; Patrick Peterson has reached the Pro Bowl in each of his two NFL seasons. (USATSI)
Editor's note: This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., at Candlestick Park
[MATCHUP NO. 3: Mike Iupati vs. Calais Campbell]
[MATCHUP NO. 2: Ahmad Brooks vs. Eric Winston]
49ers WR Anquan Boldin vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
Tale of the tape
Boldin (81): 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, 11th season, Florida State
Peterson (21): 6 foot 1, 219 pounds, third season, LSU
Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he believes Patrick Peterson is the best cornerback in the NFL. And he said he could be a top-five wide receiver, too.
Peterson might see some action on offense Sunday when the Cardinals face the 49ers, but his main responsibility will be attempting to keep veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin in check.
Peterson figures to shadow Boldin, the 49ers’ only threat at the wide receiver position, for most of the game.
[RELATED: Boldin represents 49ers' only WR threat]
“Not the entire game, but that will be his matchup of the week,” Arians told Bay Area reports this week. "That’s a great challenge because ‘Quan is such a physical guy and a great catcher of the football, and a hell of a football player.”
Boldin leads the 49ers with 26 receptions for 393 yards and two touchdowns. All the other wide receivers on the 49ers’ roster -- Kyle Williams, Jon Baldin, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton and Kassim Osgood -- have combined for 13 receptions for 112 yards and no touchdowns in five games.
So there’s little doubt that Boldin will be the primary focus of the Cardinals’ defense on the outside. That means Boldin will see a lot of Peterson in tight man coverage.
Peterson has three interceptions and 10 passes broken up for the Cardinals in the first five games. His ability to intercept passes and provide big plays on punt returns is what distinguishes him from a lot of cornerbacks, Boldin said.
“I think try to get him involved in all three phases: offensively, special teams and on defense,” Boldin said. “He’s one of their key guys.
“A lot of defensive backs don’t have the same ball skills that he has.”
Peterson earned trips to the Pro Bowl in his first two NFL seasons -- for different reasons. As a rookie, he was selected for special teams, as he returned four punts for touchdowns. Last season, he intercepted seven passes and forced seven fumbles with five recoveries.