Posted: 3:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013
By James Brady
One thing that's going to be exceedingly difficult for the San Francisco 49ers when they take on the Arizona Cardinals is keeping wide receiver Anquan Boldin in favorable matchups. To this point, teams have been putting double coverage on Boldin, but they also have not, for the most part, taken one good cornerback and put said cornerback on Boldin all game.
Even Richard Sherman occasionally stuck to one side when the 49ers flipped Boldin around. Many teams feel like they're better when they keep their CBs on one side, even when they're in man-to-man coverage. Arizona, at least for this game, is not one of those teams.
Patrick Peterson is one of the better corners in the league. He has his ups and downs, but by and large, he's a threat to shut down any receiver in the league and has an eye for making the big plays. The Cardinals have made it clear that they plan to place Peterson on Boldin and have him follow him, regardless of where he lines up.
This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes a receiver just knows how to beat a specific cornerback, and if that's the case, then Boldin could do some damage before the Cardinals have an opportunity to make adjustments. Alternatively, Peterson cold do like Sherman did and frustrate Boldin to the point in which he's just totally ineffective in every way.
Personally, I don't even think the 49ers should be looking Boldin's way in this game. The Cardinals are not a very good football team, and it could be an opportunity to actually get the football to someone not named Boldin. Arizona has made it clear they think Boldin is the only real threat in the passing game -- the best thing the 49ers could do at this point is prove them wrong.
Don't come out of the gate looking for Boldin. Run the football with Frank Gore a little and then just start firing away. Throw it to anybody not named Boldin and catch the Cardinals off balance. It would also have the added benefit of potentially helping out some of said receivers and even quarterback Colin Kaepernick when it comes to confidence. Is it too much to ask for a simple 11-play, 75-plus-yard drive capped off with a touchdown?
Maybe ... but a guy can dream. I think the 49ers have this game in the bag, but I think they need to get a little creative to ensure victory. Stick with running the football for the most part, but I think the ball should be spread around to [insert non-Boldin receiver here] here and there. It's a winning formula, if you ask me.