By Janie McCauley Associated Press
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Anquan Boldin sprinted off the field for the locker room following a memorable 49ers debut, then insisted afterward that’s just how he rolls.
He gets paid to catch footballs, and he approaches each game as a job from the moment he steps onto the field to the way he exits the turf a few hours later — with a little bit of fun mixed in, of course. On Sunday, he scurried away before the game clock had even ticked down to 0:00.
“That’s just how I am,” Boldin said. “I don’t go out for the coin toss, I go to the locker room. For me, this is a business. I come out here to do a job, and, hopefully, I do my job well.”
Nobody will question what he says or does after the performance he put on with 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown to lead San Francisco past the Green Bay Packers 34-28 in a wild season opener between NFC powers.
“He went out there and played like a grown man,” said quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who threw for a career-high 412 yards.
Coach Jim Harbaugh saw no need to call big brother, John, and thank him for trading the star wideout from Super Bowl champion Baltimore to the West Coast. Harbaugh has done so many times already in recent months.
“You talk about the analogy of the salesmen out there who sell their product, they meet their quota,” Harbaugh said Monday. “And then there’s other salesmen who meet their quota and also coach up other salesmen on how to meet their quota. It’s a multiplying effect that guys like that have … Anquan Boldin is one of those types of guys.”
Boldin finished one catch shy of his career high, set in his rookie season with Arizona 10 years ago. His 208 yards receiving were sixth most in an NFL season opener — and he also has the second most with 217 yards on 10 catches in that September 2003 debut against Detroit.
“I guess this is a debut game in the NFC West, huh?” he said.
Now, Boldin is a few weeks from his 33rd birthday and beginning his 11th season for a third team looking as fresh as ever.
Kaepernick, Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis opened up the passing game eight months after Kaepernick ran the read option with precision in a 45-31 playoff win over the Packers.
Boldin earned praise from his teammates on both sides of the ball. They knew what they were getting when he joined the 49ers and Boldin went out and produced one of the best games of his career.
“He stepped up huge, especially on third down,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “We’re real happy to have him. He’s a guy that Kap would look to when he got in trouble. A couple of those he was guarded heavily and he came down with the ball. He’s a big, strong dude. We’ve seen that in practice, the way he works and the example he sets.”
Boldin is leading the NFL in catches and yards receiving through the opening weekend. This week’s task stands to be more of a challenge against a Seattle secondary that’s one of the best in football.
Boldin and Kaepernick have developed an impressive early season rhythm.
“The more we play together the better we’ll be,” Boldin said. “The great thing me and Kap have is communication. We’ve been able to communicate throughout the entire camp on every play.”
What a bargain move for the Niners bringing him to the Bay Area — all they gave away is a sixth-round draft pick.
“We did give up a draft pick for him, and we’re paying him a lot of money,” Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s definitely worth every penny of it. I think he’s worth EVERY penny.”
Boldin came back from an apparent twisted right knee early in the fourth quarter to make a 43-yard catch in the decisive drive. He also converted on fourth down with a 15-yard catch that set up Phil Dawson’s late 33-yard field goal.
“He showed me that it doesn’t matter what year you’re in, or how old you are, you can still be a monster, and that’s what he showed me,” Davis said. “I told him, ‘I thank God that you’re on my team, because you are a beast.’ I applaud him and his efforts to help this team win. He did a tremendous job.”