Anquan Boldin smiled when asked what he thought about Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Taylor Mays matching up against him on Boldin’s 34-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter of the Ravens' 44-13 demolition at M&T Bank Stadium Monday night.
"We'll take that matchup," the wide receiver said.
Boldin & Co. took advantage of a re-tooled Cincinnati secondary that featured a starter returning from a season-ending injury, a new starting strong safety and a pair of new faces at cornerback. Overall, the starting unit of cornerbacks Leon Hall (sidelined in 2011 by a torn Achilles tendon) and Nate Clements and safeties Reggie Nelson and Taylor Mays (replaced Chris Crocker) wasn't terrible, but the Ravens exploited that group.
On Boldin's touchdown catch, his defender left him to blitz, and Mays shifted down. But Boldin sped past him and quarterback Joe Flacco floated the ball between Mays and Nelson into Boldin's hands.
Flacco also lobbed a pass over a leaping Terence Newman to Jacoby Jones two plays prior to Boldin's touchdown, and tight end Dennis Pitta used his 6-foot-4 frame to outleap the 5-11 Hall for a 10-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.
At the end, the Ravens finished with 308 passing yards, and Flacco was 1 yard shy of overtaking Vinny Testaverde as the franchise leader in 300-yard performances.
Prior to the game, there was some discussion over how the Bengals secondary would fare with players learning the defensive schemes, but middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said he didn't think that was a factor in the loss to the Ravens.
"Everyone was in tune and in the right state of mind as far as coming together and trying to execute the calls that were being called," Maualuga said. "But overall, the penalties and whatnot, not being in the right place, not covering your guy, it's the NFL and teams take advantage of that and you get beat."
Boldin thought otherwise, saying, "They haven't had a chance to really play together. So they're still trying to find their way back there, but that's a good team. When we wind up playing again, I think they'll be a lot better next time."