Everybody knew that if the San Francisco 49ers were going to be a serious Super Bowl contender this year, the team would need to see some real improvement from former 10th overall pick, Michael Crabtree. The standout wide receiver from Texas Tech hasn’t disappointed. Following his first 1,000-yard campaign and his development into the key cog in this 49ers’ pass attack, I think it’s safe to say that he’s finally developed into the receiver they had hoped they were getting.
Coming out of college there were serious questions about Crabtree’s character and attitude. It wasn’t always smooth sailing for him, to say the least. He didn’t even show up for his first training camp and missed the first five games of his rookie season as he and his agent held out for the best contract they could get. This did not endear him to the 49ers faithful and a very vocal minority wanted him shipped out of town. Not sure any of them will be so vocal in voicing displeasure in their leading receiver now, as he gives them little to complain about. He has become the undisputed leader in the receiving corps. Not a second too soon either, with only one season remaining after this on his rookie contract.
As much of the 49ers struggled through the second half of the season, only two players kept their play at a high level on a weekly basis. One of those players is Colin Kaepernick, the other Michael Crabtree. Some of Crabtree’s success seems to get lost in the Kaeper-mania, but the two go hand in hand. The best part about Crabtree’s play in the second half of the season is that he did it largely without any help from the 49ers other receivers. Following Mario Manningham being placed on season ending IR it was practically a one man show.
The playoffs have resulted in more of a receiving by committee type game – something that was necessary to make it to the Super Bowl. One man shows don't generally result in Super Bowls. That doesn’t mean Crabtree’s slowed down though. As a matter of fact, in this playoff run he’s shattered his career marks set last season. He has 15 receptions, 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. No reason to expect him to slow down either, as the Niners show down with the Ravens for football supremacy and the Super Bowl.
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