Boldin Provided Expected Spark

Returning from knee surgery, the WR came up with four catches for 73 yards and a TD.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Divisional Vs Texans, Garrett Downing

Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh said leading up to Sunday’s game against Houston that wide receiver Anquan Boldin’s return would provide a “spark.”

Turns out, “spark” might not be enough to describe what Boldin meant to the Ravens. Boldin was a bright spot on a day where little went right for the offense.

“Anquan made huge plays in critical situations,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the 20-13 win over the Houston Texans.

Boldin returned to the lineup after missing the final two regular-season games because of knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and he finished with four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. No other player had more than 30 receiving yards for the Ravens.

“Anytime you get a guy back like that, everybody on our offense sees that and gains confidence from it,” Flacco said.

Boldin said that he is felling better now than he has the entire season because he played most of the year with the meniscus partially torn. Now that he is back and healthy, he knows he can be a playmaker for the offense.

Before Sunday’s game, Boldin approached Flacco and let him know he could be in store for a big day.

“I went up to Joe before the game and said, ‘if you see me in one-on-one coverage, just throw it up and I’ll make the play.’ Fortunately, he was able to do that,” Boldin said.

Flacco targeted Boldin eight times Sunday, and Boldin’s touchdown came in the first quarter on a 10-yard pass in the back of the end zone, which gave the Ravens an early 17-3 lead.

“I got the corner to shuffle his feet for just a second and Joe made a great throw,” Boldin said.

Boldin also came up with a critical first-down catch in the fourth quarter with just under four minutes on the clock. The first down allowed the Ravens to run about a minute off the clock and set up a 44-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff to give Baltimore the 20-13 lead.

“[His ability] to make the catches in those situations was important,” Harbaugh said.

In the two games without Boldin, Flacco threw for 130 and 132 passing yards, his two lowest totals of the season.

When asked after the game what his return meant to the offense, Boldin offered an answer that sounded very similar to what his coach and quarterback wanted from him.

“Hopefully, a spark,” Boldin said.

And Boldin isn’t ready for this to be it.

“For me, my vision is much bigger than this game. I came here for one reason only, to win a championship.”

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