When Michael Crabtree held out after being selected 10th overall in the 2009 draft by the San Francisco 49er’s, some questioned how he would translate coming into the NFL. Many were frustrated with the rookie, and critics were even calling him a diva. However, I can remember one man who said he was worth the wait.
At the start of the 2009 season, Herm Edwards said on ESPN (Regarding Crabtree) “If this guy can play like everyone expects him to play, the 49ers are the best team in that division.” Herm was right. In 2011 and 2012, the San Francisco 49er’s won the NFC West and had unforgettable postseason runs. Let us be reminded however that San Francisco made several changes in 2011. Jim Harbaugh was hired, and he brought along Greg Roman and Vic Fangio from Stanford.
But I still think that what Herm said holds significant weight. Crabtree is a treasured resource for San Francisco’s offense, and they experienced some struggles when he was injured earlier in the regular season. He has now re-made a name for himself after a strong bounce back from his torn Achilles… Even when it’s -15 degrees outside.
This year Crabtree sat out the first 11 weeks after tearing his right Achilles tendon on May 21. In that time, the 49er’s went 7-4 and the Seattle Seahawks ended up taking the division. Since returning from his injury, (Week 12 of regular season) San Francisco is 6-0 and “King Crab” has 27 catches for 409 yards and a TD. (Averaging 15.1 yds/catch.)
Michael Crabtree is performing at an extremely high level in the postseason again. Colin Kaepernick fed him 8 receptions for 125 yards in San Francisco’s win over Green Bay last Sunday. In Crabtree’s last 4 postseason contests, he has 28 receptions for 410 yards and 3 TD’s. That’s pretty solid considering Vernon Davis had 14 receptions for 291 yards and 2 TD’s in those games.
The last time that the San Francisco 49er’s and the Carolina Panther’s met, Crabtree was on the IR with his torn Achilles and Davis had left the game early with a concussion. Neither players were a factor in the 10-9 home loss that followed San Francisco’s 2013 bye week. Can the 49er’s overcome the #2 pass defense in the NFL this Sunday by utilizing their healthy receiving corps this time around? If so, the San Francisco 49er’s will advance to the NFC Championship game for the 3rd year in a row.