Boldin: 'We thought the proper way was to come back here and to win at Foxborough.'
Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin never had any doubt.
He stood in front of his locker after the Ravens’ late-season losing streak reached three and vowed that the Ravens would still win the division. He stood in front of the media after the Ravens’ first-round playoff game and vowed that the Ravens would win at Denver in the Divisional Round. Then he stood in the Ravens locker room this past week and vowed that the Ravens would beat New England.
On Sunday, Boldin was as good as his word, catching two second-half touchdown passes to help lead the Ravens past the Patriots, 28-13, for a spot in the Super Bowl.
“Even after those three losses I told them don’t panic, we’re gonna right the ship, we’re gonna win the division, we’re gonna make it to the playoffs,” Boldin said. “… We’ve been through a lot as a team. We’ve had injuries after injuries, we had one of our brothers lose a loved one, we lost the offensive coordinator. You name it, we’ve been through it, but this team has never wavered, no matter what the situation. We always believed.”
For Ravens such as Boldin, the win was especially gratifying after losing the AFC title game to New England last year in agonizing fashion, 23-20.
“We came here last year and left with a bitter taste in our mouth,” Boldin said. “We felt like this team (the Patriots) had taken something away from us, and we wanted to come back and make that right.
It would have been great to do it in front of our fans in Baltimore … but we thought the proper way would be to come back here and to win at Foxborough.”
Boldin was held without a catch in the first half, but he became a major factor in the second half, during which the Ravens outscored the Patriots 21-0. Boldin caught a 3-yard score to give the Ravens a 21-13 lead, and his 11-yard touchdown grab with 11:13 left turned out to be the game’s final score.
The Patriots’ secondary suffered a big loss when cornerback Aqib Talib left early with an apparent hamstring injury, and the Ravens really went into attack mode in the second half.
Quarterback Joe Flacco (21-36, 240 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) carved up the Patriots defense, with Boldin (5-60) and tight end Dennis Pitta (5-55) doing the most damage.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Boldin said. “I don’t know why people keep doubting him. The bigger the situation, the bigger he plays.”
For Boldin, this will be his second Super Bowl appearance; he played with Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII when the Cardinals lost to Pittsburgh.
“You look at guys who go their whole career and never make it to the Super Bowl,” he said. “Me, I get another shot. And I’m looking to finish it off this time.”