Dropping passes is so out of character for Anquan Boldin that he and offensive coordinator Greg Roman shared a little laugh about it last week after a few balls went through Boldin's hands in New Orleans.
Boldin despises missing potential receptions, so imagine how infuriated he felt when four slipped through his grasp against the Saints.
"Always. They burn and it's something that you think about, but at the same time you can't let that affect the next game or the next play," he said. "That's something you vow not to let happen again, come out, work your butt off and move on."
Boldin has had few sub-par games in his two seasons with San Francisco (6-4), and he certainly bounced back from that one in New Orleans on Nov. 9.
He caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick in Sunday's 16-10 road win against the New York Giants, and coach Jim Harbaugh has adopted Boldin's mantra of considering each week a "one-game season."
"Everybody knows where we are, it's not a secret. We're the ones who put ourselves there," Boldin said. "If it's going to get done, we're going to have to do it. We're not looking for anybody outside to come and help us. We know that we're good enough to make things happen. It would be a great story for us to be 4-4 and then win the Super Bowl. That's how we're looking at it, every week is win or go home."
He is doing his part.
Boldin has five or more receptions in eight of San Francisco's 10 games. He has a team-leading 56 catches — 13 more than No. 2 receiver Michael Crabtree — heading into Sunday's home game against Washington (3-7).
Those dropped balls fueled Boldin even more.
Boldin had a big day last November against the Redskins. Colin Kaepernick threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns, two of those to Boldin in a 27-6 win.
"He's at the highest level in all categories: intensity, focus," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I don't know if there's another rung in the ladder to go, but I felt that before and he has climbed another rung."
After the dropped balls, Harbaugh found himself answering questions about San Francisco's top two targets in a talented receiving corps. He hasn't lost an ounce of faith in the Boldin-Crabtree combo.
Boldin has meant so much to the 49ers on and off the field.
Last week, he announced a $1 million endowment from him and wife Dionne to his foundation for annual college scholarships to high school graduates.
For Roman, keeping everybody involved proves a challenge each week, and he wants tight end Vernon Davis to be a bigger part of the offense despite a year in which his numbers are down.
Boldin's intense personality pushes everybody, on both sides of the ball.
"Anquan's such a special guy. You don't really notice that because he's always at that notch," Roman said. "I grabbed him last week and made an analogy about some of that stuff and we chuckled, because it just never happens. It's not something you would never see. He's so dependable, such a strong-handed catcher, and that's every single day in practice, from the first day of OTAs through OTAs, into training camp, it's the same."
In March, the 49ers signed Boldin to a $12 million, two-year contract with $9 million guaranteed to keep Kaepernick's top target around.
Fellow wideout Stevie Johnson trusts in Boldin to always make the big play under pressure.
"We know Q and we know him to never miss a pass, but at the same time we also know that nobody's perfect and things happen," Johnson said. "Most of the time it goes his way. Q, that's the type of player he is, he's a beast."
NOTES: LB NaVorro Bowman, whose 21-day window during which he could be activated opened Tuesday, is scheduled to be examined by a team doctor Friday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. He is not practicing this week. ... Fangio doesn't expect NT Glenn Dorsey to be ready to play Sunday. "Nothing negative has happened," Fangio said. "I think it's kind of where it was last week at this time."
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