Numbers no longer weigh on Anquan Boldin's mind. That's why the ninth-year veteran didn't make too much of his first 100-receiving yard day of the season in the Ravens' 29-14 victory over the Houston Texans at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.
"I think, for me, I'm past stats," Boldin said. "My whole career has been built around that [not caring about stats]. I'm just to the point now where I want to win a championship. Whatever that takes, I'm going to do it."
Nonetheless, Boldin's eight-catch, 132-yard performance was a welcome sight for a receiving corps that played without fellow starter Lee Evans for the third consecutive game.
"I think we hit him more," coach John Harbaugh said of Boldin, who was targeted a team-high nine times by quarterback Joe Flacco. "… I don't remember all the numbers. I remember a couple of screens and a couple of controlled five-routes, a couple inside curls that we hit against man coverage. That was part of the plan."
Prior to Sunday, Boldin hadn't been nearly as productive in his second season with the Ravens. After catching 27 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns in his first four contests last year, Boldin had caught just 15 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown in 2011.
The absence of Evans has allowed opposing defenses to shift their focus to Boldin, but Boldin declined to cite that as a reason for his slow start.
"For me, I don't feel pressure at all," Boldin said of leading a wide-receiver group that includes three rookies in Torrey Smith, LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss. "I've played football. I've been doing it all my life. I don't feel any pressure at all."
Leach, Pollard downplay satisfaction of beating former team
After helping the Ravens defeat their former employer, both fullback Vonta Leach and strong safety Bernard Pollard expressed their happiness with getting the win, but not about exacting revenge against Houston, which declined to sign the pair in the offseason.
"I didn't look at this game as payback or revenge or anything like that," said Leach, who was quoted by The Houston Chronicle on Sunday as saying the Texans were "disrespectful" in their offer to retain him. "I didn't have anything to prove in this game. I just wanted to go out there and play football and help this team get a win."
Said Pollard: "We all need to be playing every week for a reason. A guy didn't get drafted as high as he thought he would. Or a guy was just on that team. Or whatever. It doesn't matter. With this team, we all take it personally every week."
Lewis reaches rare plateau
Already the first player in NFL history to total 35 sacks and 30 interceptions in a career, Ray Lewis further entrenched himself in the record book.
With his sack of Matt Schaub in the first quarter, the 12-time Pro Bowl inside linebacker became the first player in NFL history to reach the 40-sack, 30-interception plateau. Lewis has collected 40½ sacks and 31 interceptions in his career.
Lewis didn't talk about the honor, but seven-time Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed did.
"Ray is an awesome player, one of the best football players of all time because he loves this game," he said. "Me and him were talking before the game, and it's something we were born to do. You do other things off the field business-wise, but football is what we were born to do."
Cundiff's busy but productive day
In addition to tying the franchise record of five field goals in a game, kicker Billy Cundiff also finished with team-record seven touchbacks and two extra points.
It was the second time Cundiff had converted five field goals in a game as a Raven, but he was more efficient Sunday than he was on Nov. 22, 2009 in his debut with the team.
"It took me six attempts to get five field goals last time, and this time, I made them all," said Cundiff, who is 14-of-16 this season. "It was actually a game that I drew upon as I was going through the game. … I started thinking, 'OK, if I had to do it all over again, how would I have done it? How would I have played it out?' So I took that into each of those field goals and said, 'Look, you've got to make sure you concentrate, make sure you stay disciplined.' I felt like I did that, and I wanted to make sure that I made a difference on kickoffs and make sure they couldn't really return the ball."
Grubbs out again
Ben Grubbs missed his fourth consecutive game as the Ravens deactivated the starting left guard Sunday.
Andre Gurode made his third straight start for Grubbs, who has been bothered by strained ligaments in a toe on his right foot. Grubbs returned to practice on Wednesday and Thursday on a limited basis, but he did not practice on Friday and was listed as questionable by the team.
The Ravens also deactivated guard/tackle Mark LeVoir and outside linebacker Sergio Kindle. The team had already ruled out cornerbacks Chris Carr (left hamstring) and rookie Jimmy Smith (high left ankle sprain), wide receiver Lee Evans (left ankle) and strong safety Tom Zbikowski (post-concussion symptoms) after Friday's practice.
The Texans deactivated fullback James Casey (strained pectoral). The team also scratched quarterback T.J. Yates, wide receiver Trindon Holliday, cornerback Brandon Harris, guard Thomas Austin and offensive tackle Andrew Gardner. Houston had already ruled out five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson (right hamstring) on Friday. Jacoby Jones made his second straight start at wide receiver. Lawrence Vickers started at fullback. … Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, Leach and Pollard represented the Ravens for the coin toss. … A moment of silence was observed for Patricia Breslin Modell, the late wife of former Ravens and Browns owner Art Modell, who died Wednesday at the age of 80.
Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times