Ravens wear out Texans early, run them over late

October 16, 2011 | Luke Jones

Though I doubt he paid any attention to my piece earlier this week suggesting the underwhelming start to his career in Baltimore, wide receiver Anquan Boldin turned in one of his finest performances in his first 21 regular-season games as a Raven by catching eight passes for 132 yards. Boldin caught three passes for first-down conversions on the Ravens’ 97-yard drive to start the game.

However, Boldin was far more pleased with another victory than arguably his best performance as a member of the Ravens since his three-touchdown game against the Cleveland Browns early last season.

“I think for me, I’m past that,” Boldin said. “My whole career has been built around that. I’m just to the point now where I just want to win a championship. Whatever that takes, I’m going to do it.”

Boldin had been targeted 30 times in the first four games of the season, but quarterback Joe Flacco had only connected on 15 of those. On Sunday, Boldin brought in eight of the nine times he was targeted.

“Anquan was able to do some things in the slot early on and create just enough separation for me to get him the ball,” Flacco said. “He made some big catches, especially on that long one.”

Boldin caught a 56-yard bomb from Flacco with Johnathan Joseph guarding closely with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter. It was the key play on a drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal to increase the Ravens’ lead to 19-14.

Record day for Cundiff

Though the Ravens were only 2-for-4 scoring touchdowns inside the red zone and 2-for-7 when getting inside the 35, Cundiff had a banner day by kicking five field goals. It tied the single-game team record and was the second time he’d done it with the Ravens after booting five against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 22, 2009.

“We always say, in the red zone we want to get seven,” Harbaugh said. “But, we want to make sure we get at least three. I though our offense did a real nice job making sure we got three, and then Billy converting.”

Cundiff was equally potent on kickoffs, setting a Ravens’ single-game record with seven touchbacks, several of them going completely out of the end zone on the fly. Of course, with the NFL now kicking off from the 35, Cundiff’s team record loses plenty of luster, but it doesn’t diminish the impact his had on the field-position game over the last few seasons.

“Those were amazing kicks,” Harbaugh said. “The guy has just been phenomenal.”

In three seasons with the Ravens, Cundiff already holds the franchise record for touchbacks with 64 on 148 kickoffs. The previous record holder was obviously longtime kicker Matt Stover, who had 60 in 672 kickoffs.

Quite the difference.

Odds & ends

Lewis collected a sack in the first quarter to give him 40 1/2 in his career and to make him the first player in NFL history to record 40 sacks and 30 interceptions (Lewis has 31 picks). … Flacco posted the sixth career 300-yard passing game and is on pace to record a career-high 4,090 yards this season. … Baltimore has outscored opponents 59-7 in the first quarter this season. … The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 games at M&T Bank Stadium, the only loss over the stretch coming against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 5, 2010. … Baltimore is not 5-0 against the Texans and has started the season 4-1 for just the fourth time in team history (2010, 2006, and 2000). … There were no new injuries to report from the game, according to a Ravens team source.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here to hear from John Harbaugh, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Bernard Pollard, and Haloti Ngata following the Ravens’ 29-14 victory over the Houston Texans.