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“Him making the big plays for us when we need it, understanding where the stick is when he’s catching the ball, all those things,” Bowman says in praising Boldin, who helped beat the 49ers in last season’s Super Bowl while he was a Ravens wideout. ‘And intimidating those cornerbacks. He’s so strong that corners understand that, so they back off on him and just try to make that tackle. But he just does a great job with just making big plays for us.”

Any meetings on the field Sunday between Sherman and Chancellor against Boldin could be epic. They surely will make highlight reels the way NASCAR crashes tend to.

Yet Pete Carroll, whose coaching style always has leaned toward the assertive - he made his mark as a defensive coordinator whose units attacked to the whistle - doesn’t quite buy the intimidation label, even if some of his players do.

“That’s a word I would not go to,” he said Friday. “It does not seem like it fits, to me. There are a bunch of guys on this football team and that football team who are very serious about playing good ball on defense.”

And serious about letting offensive players know who is boss.

“Ask Kam Chancellor,” Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin said of the safety he often practices against. “I would say yes to some degree, some players get intimidated, some don’t. I always tell Kam if he ever tried to mess with me I’ll punch him in the mouth. I don’t take to intimidation very well.”

There are other ways of putting fear - or at least hesitation - in an opponent, anyway.

Baldwin’s fellow wideout in Seattle, Golden Tate, stresses performance.

“Intimidation comes from what you lay out there for them to see on film, what you do on the field,” he said. “I think my play - jumping for catches, going across the middle, catching the ball in the end zone, breaking a punt return with the guys blocking for me up front - and backing it up by making more plays, that’s what can be intimidating.”


AP Sports Writers Tim Booth and Janie McCauley contributed to this story.


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