Harbaugh: "We need to be better"
When taking a look at the stat sheet, Anquan Boldin doesn't exactly jump out.
He had five catches for 57 yards to lead the a less-than-spectacular Ravens offense in Sunday's 25-15 win at the Cleveland Browns, but what might go overlooked are his contributions off the ball.
Rookie Bernard Pierce got his first TD as a pro, running from 12 yards out to put the Ravens up 14-0 to end the first quarter.
It was Boldin's block on Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown that sealed the edge and allowed Pierce to turn up field.
"He doesn't have a receiver's mentality," Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said. "It's fun watching him play and his aggressive nature, and you kind of feed off of him."
Then there's what Boldin did on the ball.
When the Ravens needed a play to come back from a 15-14 deficit in the fourth quarter -- after going two-plus quarters without a first down -- it was Boldin who hauled in a 21-yard catch to get the Ravens to their own 40.
All of a sudden, the efficient machine that started the game re-appeared.
“When you’re struggling like we were, you always need a play to get going, and that was the play,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It got us the first down and got us going.
"There are a lot of turning points in a season and that was definitely a turning point. There will be a lot more turning points before it’s all over, but that was a big play."
The Ravens were able to go back to Ray Rice who was limited after getting 58 rushing yards in the first quarter. He had three rushes for 22 yards on that drive after Boldin's catch knocked Cleveland off balance.
Quarterback Joe Flacco would hit Smith for a 19-yard touchdown with less than five minutes left in the game that proved to be the game-winner.
With a new empahsis on speed and the ability to stretch the field because of Smith and Jacoby Jones, and the emergence of tight end Dennis Pitta until recently, Boldin still is Baltimore's most reliable weapon.
He hasn't scored a touchdown since the opener, but Boldin leads the team in catches (36) and yards (510).
"He's the definition of a football player. I love playing with him," Smith said of the 10th-year player. "He's physical. He's a great route runner. He can catch. He's still a dominant player."