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Down two touchdowns in the first quarter, the Ravens turned to their new dynamic duo of receivers.
Wideouts Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans combined for eight receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night against the Washington Redskins, providing the comeback firepower in Baltimore’s 34-31 victory.
It’s never been easy for the historically defensive-geared Ravens to climb back from deficits before.
But with Boldin and Evans, it seems more possible in the future.
Lee Evans Discusses His Big TD Right Click for Full Screen Option
“Quick strike ability, you have to have it,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Once you get in that high red zone, that 20 to 35-yard area, that’s a nice area to score from. Guys like Lee, that’s what they do.”
The two wideouts complemented each other well Thursday. Boldin worked the intermediate-to-long crossing routes and showed his physical nature. Lee flashed his blazing speed.
“He’s the guy that pretty much takes the top off of defenses, opens up everything underneath for guys like myself and Ray Rice and other guys,” Boldin said.
Quarterback Joe Flacco had Boldin deep a couple times in the team’s last preseason game against Kansas City but overthrew him twice. This time, the pair showed their strong connection.
Flacco hit Boldin for gains of 18 and 30 yards on their first touchdown drive. Boldin got open behind the Redskins’ zone defense and Flacco lobbed the perfect pass over the defense’s head to the veteran.
Flacco then hit Boldin for a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter that tied the score at 21. The Ravens’ top target, who finished with five receptions for 73 yards, toe-tapped in the back of the end zone.
Boldin said he and Flacco spend a little time after practices making sure they’re on the same page and both attest that their chemistry has improved from a year ago. In their first year together, Boldin recorded 64 receptions for 837 yards and seven touchdowns, his lowest totals in a 16-game season.
“It’s not something that happens overnight,” Boldin said. “You know, the great ones always put in extra time, and that’s what we’re trying to do now.”
“Me and Anquan have been hooking up this training camp, and we have been talking to each other about what we’re seeing,” Flacco added. “I am really confident about where we are at right now.”
Anquan Boldin: ‘Sky Is The Limit For Our Offense’ Right Click for Full Screen Option
Evans continued to show why he’s the deep threat the Ravens have long coveted.
The speedy veteran, whom Baltimore acquired from Buffalo for a fourth-round pick, simply outran Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (no slow-poke himself) on a stretch play up the right sideline. Flacco lofted the 35-yard pass right into his outstretched hands.
Evans finished with three catches for 60 yards, a week after notching three catches for 68 yards.
“The play that Evans made … wow,” Harbaugh said. “To be able to go get that ball the way he did, there was a point in time where I didn’t think he was going to be able to catch up with the throw. I guess Joe knew he would be able to catch up.”
In a game in which the Ravens were looking for Flacco to get in a rhythm with his top two targets before facing Pittsburgh – especially considering he lost his two go-to receivers in Derrick Mason and Todd Heap this offseason – the group delivered.
“You talk about timing and chemistry and maturing together,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t even know what the word is, but I think they are getting to know each other in the passing game, and that bodes well for us.”