49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch
Anquan Boldin caught one of his seven targets against Richard Sherman for 17 yards when they faced each other in 2011. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Anquan Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown in his debut with the 49ers. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch Sunday, 5:30 p.m., at CenturyLink Field
[RELATED: Matchup No. 3: Williams vs. Unger]
49ers WR Anquan Boldin vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman
Tale of the tape
Boldin (No. 81): 6 foot 1, 220 pounds, 11th season, Florida State
Sherman (No. 25): 6 foot 3, 195 pounds, third season, Stanford
Anquan Boldin did something in the season opener that had not been done in a decade.
Boldin had 208 receiving yards in the 49ers’ season-opening victory over the Green Bay Packers. The last time anyone in the NFL eclipsed 200 yards receiving in the opener was 2003. The guy’s name: Anquan Boldin.
Boldin got off to an extraordinary beginning to the season, in large part, because the Packers allowed him to get off to a quick start . . . on virtually every snap.
The Packers played a lot of zone defense, regularly giving Boldin a free release off the line of scrimmage.
That will not be the case Sunday night, as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, a first-team All-Pro, figures to be in Boldin’s face for most of the game. Sherman is a physical cornerback, and Boldin is a physical wide receiver.
It will be strength vs. strength in the key early season NFC West matchup.
“If you watch film,” Boldin said. “They’re a lot more physical than normal defensive backs.”
And that’s Boldin’s forte, as well. He can muscle through smaller cornerbacks, using his body and his vice-grip hands to make plays in traffic. The two met previously on Nov. 13, 2011, when Sherman was a rookie and Boldin played for the Baltimore Ravens.
Boldin caught just two of the nine passes he was targeted for a season-low 22 yards. Sherman was matched against Boldin on seven of those pass attempts, and Boldin caught one for 17 yards. Boldin had difficulty separating from Sherman, but Boldin typically does not require much space to make catches.
“I’ll just have to knock the ball down,” Sherman said in his Thursday session with Seattle reporters. “There’s some give and take in there with a physical receiver like him. There’s always going to be some give and take.
“He’s going to be pushing you and grabbing you. It’s going to be a physical battle so you have to prepare your mind and your body for that type of game, because if you’re not prepared for that then he’ll dominate like he did last game."
The matchup features two players with similar physical styles. But that’s about the only similarity between the two men. Boldin is known as a quiet professional type, while Sherman is known as much for his boasting and outrageous statements as for his playing ability. Boldin does not figure to get caught up in the verbal side of the matchup.
“I play football,” Boldin said when asked about handling the expected trash talk from Sherman. “You got to make this game simple: Just go out and play football.”