Call him Mr. January.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin did what seems to be almost routine for him in the playoffs. He put up a big performance, and he was part of the winning team.
Boldin has 554 yards in his last six playoff games - all wins - which included four last season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl championship team. His 136 yards on eight catches pushed the 49ers past host Carolina in the NFC Divisional playoffs, setting up a rubber match against NFC West rival Seattle in the conference championship game next weekend.
Boldin was acquired by the 49ers in the offseason, when Baltimore, looking to dump his contract, shipped him off for a sixth round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He had 10 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' win over the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
With his 8-catch, 136-yard effort today, Anquan Boldin now has 980 career playoff receiving yards, 12th-most in NFL history— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) January 12, 2014
Whomever the Ravens selected with that pick did not have the season Boldin had in San Francisco.
At the same time, the 49ers were paying out quite a bit more, but as Sunday proved, the big money guys make the big plays in big games. At least that's what San Francisco was banking on, and that's the dividends they're receiving now.
Even as Boldin could be considered on the downward swing of his career, he will play in his third consecutive NFC championship game, having played there in 2011 and 2012 with Baltimore. The Panthers, as a team, are the opposite of that - young, up-and-coming and their season is over.
The Panthers simply looked flat all game, far underperforming their outstanding 2013 season. They won 11 of their final 12 games, capturing the second seed in the NFC. Their high-powered offense looked stalled all afternoon, and they didn't hold their composure in a chippy, trash talk-filled game.
For now, San Francisco advances to the NFC championship game for the third straight time.
Seattle may want to look out for Boldin next week.
- 49ers vs. Panthers NFC Divisional playoffs open thread
- NFL Playoff Schedule: Conference championship dates and times set, teams to be finalized Sunday
- NFC Championship game tickets not being sold in California or North Carolina
- Steelers 2014 Roster Projections: Running backs
- Screwed by Out of the Playoffs? Yes. Lucky Break for Steelers? Probably...