Texans-49ers matchup No. 3: Anquan Boldin vs. Johnathan Joseph
The Texans are likely to stack the box to defend the 49ers’ run game while playing man coverage on the outside. (AP)
Anquan Boldin faced Johnathan Joseph twice in 2010 when the two played in the NFC North. (AP)
Programming note: Not near a TV Sunday night? Watch the 49ers take on the Texans LIVE online on CSNBayArea.com with NBC Sports' Live Extra
Editor's note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Texans matchups to watch Sunday, 5:30 p.m., at Candlestick Park.
49ers WR Anquan Boldin vs. Texans CB Johnathan Joseph
Tale of the tape
Boldin (81): 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, 11th season, Florida State
Joseph (24): 5 foot 11, 188 pounds, eighth season, South Carolina
Anquan Boldin has gotten very little help from the 49ers’ other wide receivers.
In the first four games, if Boldin was not producing in the 49ers’ passing game, nobody else could be expected to pick up the slack.
And with tight end Vernon Davis still not 100-percent healthy after sustaining a hamstring strain in Week 2, there is even more focus on Boldin.
After all, through four games he leads the way with 24 receptions for 372 yards and two touchdowns.
In a combined 15 games, the other five wide receivers on the roster – Jon Baldwin, Kyle Williams, Marlon Moore, Quinton Patton and Kassim Osgood – have totaled just 13 catches and 112 receiving yards.
Baldwin suited up for the first time last week against the St. Louis Rams. He had just two receptions for 19 yards, but one was an important third-down conversion on a drive that led to a touchdown. He is expected to see more action, as the 49ers look for someone other than Boldin to make a contribution.
“I think it’s all about opportunity and I think the opportunities that he was given last week, shoot, I was very encouraged by it,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said of Baldwin. “I love to see guys play physical and make plays when opportunities come their way. I’m sure he’ll be getting plenty of opportunities this week and he’s got to take advantage of them.”
Boldin, who turned 33 on Thursday, will likely continue to be Colin Kaepernick’s main target. Until Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree return to action, Boldin is the only receiver on the 49ers’ roster who has experienced any NFL success. Manningham (knee) is expected to begin practicing shortly after becoming eligible on Oct. 15. The 49ers are hoping Crabtree (Achilles) can make a return in December.
Boldin on Sunday will be matched a lot against the Houston Texans’ top cornerback, veteran Johnathan Joseph. The two players overlapped for just two games in the NFC AFC North. In 2010, Boldin was in his first season with the Baltimore Ravens, while Joseph played his final year with the Cincinnati Bengals. Boldin caught seven passes in those two games for 44 yards.
Both Joseph and Kareem Jackson, the corner on the left side, are listed at 188 pounds. With a weight advantage of more than 30 pounds, Boldin should be able to use his strength to get off press coverage.
It’s unlikely Boldin will be able to gain much separation against Joseph, but Kaepernick will give him plenty of opportunities to make plays. The Texans are likely to stack the box to defend Frank Gore and the 49ers’ run game while playing man coverage on the outside.