Why Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin Had the Most Impressive Season Debut

Peter Panacy@@PeterPanacyFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2013

Anquan Boldin topped all NFL receivers in Week 1 with 208 receiving yards.
Anquan Boldin topped all NFL receivers in Week 1 with 208 receiving yards.Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2013 season, one might not have thought that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin would be at the top of the list of most impressive wide receivers in Week 1.

Yet, that is exactly where he stands after his brilliant performance during the 49ers' victory against the Green Bay Packers.

To say that Boldin was impressive during the game is an understatement.

It would be more accurate to say that Boldin was stellar.  Let the facts do most of the talking.  For starters, Boldin totaled 208 receiving yards on 13 receptions during the game.  He also grabbed one of quarterback Colin Kaepernick's three touchdown passes.

In comparison, the closest receiver to Boldin in receiving yards was Houston Texans' wideout Andre Johnson who totaled 146 yards in their season opener.  Boldin beat out Johnson by over 60 receiving yards after Week 1.  It is also worth noting that Boldin led all wide receivers in total receptions during the week.

While stats alone tell much of the story, they do not necessarily reveal all of it.

What makes this even more special is the fact that Boldin is 32 years old.  He is also playing with San Francisco for the first time in his career, meaning he did not have the benefit of an elongated knowledge of the 49ers' offense.

Perhaps even more spectacular is the notion that San Francisco's wide receiver corps was supposed to be an apparent weakness in 2013.  After the team lost its No. 1 receiver Michael Crabtree during OTAs, there was a slew of questions surrounding which player would step up in his absence.

Boldin has now emerged as that guy.

Granted, Green Bay's pass defense is not exactly awe-inspiring.  In 2012, the Packers gave up 3,492 passing yards which is not bad, but not stellar. 

Anyone who watched Boldin's performance during Week 1 would have recognized how bad he made them look.

His contributions did not go unrecognized as Boldin was subsequently named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

If a wide receiver is going to receive those accolades, why should he not be named as the receiver who had the most impressive season debut?

Following the game, Boldin stated via Fox Sports, ''We knew (the Packers) were going to come in ready to play after what happened in the playoffs.  We had to come out and match their intensity.''

It is safe to say that Boldin did just that and then some.

49ers.com columnist Taylor Price sang out some of Boldin's praises via a tweet following the game.

That combination of size and strength is certainly something that 49ers fans will be looking forward to in the coming weeks.

What does that mean for San Francisco?  It is possible that the team could be concerned with Kaepernick again locking into one receiver like he did with Michael Crabtree back in 2012.  Spreading the ball around will likely be paramount to the 49ers' success this year.

Yet tight end Vernon Davis—who also had a stellar season debut—may factor into the equation and prevent that from happening.  Other receivers like Kyle Williams or rookie Quinton Patton could also take some of the pressure off Boldin.

The 49ers will face the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Week 2.  Seattle's defense, especially their secondary, is one of the best in the NFL and is also known for playing with a chip on their shoulder—especially against San Francisco.

Boldin has made it clear, however, that he does not plan on getting involved with the banter that often leads up to the opening kickoff. 

As tweeted by Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, Boldin has no interest in a "war of words" with Seattle.

San Francisco just hopes that he does all of his talking through his play.  If Week 1 was any indication, 49ers fans are in for another treat.

Granted, it is only one week into the 2013 season.  Yet Boldin tops the list of all receivers thus far and did more to bolster his name than anyone else. 

It is a good sign of things to come and goes to prove that the 32-year-old is spectacular beyond his age.

All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.



Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers.  Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.


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