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Kap-to-Crab Connection Growing Strong

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 21, 2012 – 2:01 PM

Michael Crabtree is already having a career year, and he still has two games to go.

The former first-round pick has emerged as Colin Kaepernick’s go-to guy on the perimeter this season. For Kaepernick, the reason is simple.

“He’s open,” Kaepernick said.

Crabtree has been open often this season, leading to new career highs of 73 catches and seven touchdowns, while his 868 yards are just six shy of his career best set in 2011.

The Kaepernick-to-Crabtree connection peaked in Week 15, as the wideout hauled in seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the fourth quarter of the 41-34 win at New England. In the past three weeks alone, Kaepernick has targeted Crabtree 34 times, resulting in 23 catches for 301 yards and two scores.

“I think Crab matches up well against everybody,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “Crab’s a player who’s ascending. He gets better and that’s what this league is all about, it’s improvement. He’s a young player in this player in this league and he’s a guy that’s showing up big time for us, regardless of the style of coverage.”

Once Crabtree gets his hands on the ball, he’s usually just getting started. Take last week’s second touchdown for example.

Crabtree ran a 5-yard hitch route on the left side of the field before Kaepernick delivered a dart. Crabtree did the rest, shaking off a would-be tackle from cornerback Kyle Arrington, spinning around and sprinting into the end zone for a 38-yard score.

“He doesn’t beg for the ball,” Roman said, “but he’ll be quick to point out when he makes a big play that you can come to me in those situations and that’s good. He’s a team guy all the way, team guy all the way.”

Crabtree has made a name for himself this season as one of the toughest receivers in the league to tackle after the catch. It seems a game can’t go by without Crabtree making a catch and breaking tackles to make a big play in the game for a first down or a touchdown.

In fact, the fourth-year veteran currently ranks fifth among NFL wideouts with 450 yards after the catch this season. It’s that type of toughness which has made Crabtree a popular player among his teammates.

“Tough runner,” Alex Boone said. “He’s a good player and runs hard. There’s not much more you can ask from a wide receiver. It’s exciting to watch him play.”

It’s not by accident, either. Roman said Crabtree has been putting in consistent extra work on cone drills this season to work on his agility, and that it’s translating out on to the field. There’s also film study involved, as the coaches try to fill in the players on the tackling tendencies of the opposing defenders.

When you consider Crabtree’s combination of work ethic and talent, perhaps it’s no surprise he’s put together a career year in 2012.

“He’s always been confident,” Roman said of Crabtree. “He’s never been one, at least around me that I’ve seen, that is making wide-ranging boasts and claims. He just goes about his business and is taking care of his business.”

Game Pass: San Francisco 49ers

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Posted in Announcements | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Kap-to-Crab Connection Growing Strong”

  1. By 49thsamurai on Dec 21, 2012 | Reply

    Good to see the Crab man get his due.

  2. By whyudodat on Dec 21, 2012 | Reply

    HARRAY FOR CRABS.The player!

  3. By Sugarplum33 on Dec 21, 2012 | Reply

    There’s a reason he’s been active so long. He’s GREAT!

  4. By Fernando on Dec 21, 2012 | Reply

    Coming from a niner fan…Yes Tom is great in fact probably one of the greatest Qbs ever if not the the best in tough situations yes Steve mariucci said himself if the niners would of drafted him he probably would be coaching the niners still, WE as niners fans r just happy that we r in the playoffs again and making noise like we did in the past hopefully making it to the Super Bowl and STAYING undefeated 5-0 right now (maybe 6-0 )..just happy the dark years r over the burgendy the Dennis Erickson era lol we have a good organization a good system good coaches we have had great success in the NFL since 1980 we have joe montana,Steve young,Jeff Garcia,Alex smith that have played some great playoff games and of coarse some superbowls just saying that we have had good success at that qb position and when you surround the qb with great TEAMATES  great DEFENSE! New stadium. Cuz remember we win as a team we lose as a team and ask yourself who got it better than us ?    NOBODY!!!!!!!

  5. By Montana2Rice4Ever on Dec 21, 2012 | Reply

    Wait a second. As a niners fan, you just said that Tom Brady is maybe the best qb ever in tough situations? Blasphemy my friend. Sorry, my dream team will still always start with Joe Cool. He won 4 Super Bowls, never lost one, and he sure as heck didn’t get half the coddling from the refs that Brady enjoys. Not saying he didn’t get any just for being joe Montana, but compared to Brady? I”ve slowly grown to admit that Brady probably does belong in that conversation. I’ve seen what he can do, and I do respect him. Montana he is not. Also, Tom Brady isn’t even mentioned in this story but I had to say something. I cole tell agree with everything else, we are the most TEAM team in the league from the bottom up. We have more depth, more camaraderie and brotherhood than anybody else out there and that’s why this is our time. P.s. Alex, you will be missed. May you land and have great success anywhere other than our division, and may all the true fans know how hard it is even now to know you only got a one year break from having to learn a completely new system and play book every year of your career. I wanted you back, but this deal seems done unless something ugly (knock on wood, hard) happens to the kid. I can think of several teams that would love to have you. Come next year, we won’t be able to afford your salary as a backup.

  6. By antb10 on Dec 22, 2012 | Reply

    Reblogged this on The Sporting Week.

  7. By Humble Gold on Dec 22, 2012 | Reply

    Kaepernick, Crabtree and Davis – could become like, Montana, Clark and rice.
    Hope to see a convincing Win at Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
    Niner Defense rules.

  8. By crabber59 on Dec 22, 2012 | Reply

    Crabtree has got great hands, just as good or better than DC thats Dwight Clark for you younger niner fans. But crab’s got more moves&speed

  9. By northeastninersfan on Dec 23, 2012 | Reply

    lot of talk about Crabs and Gore (both fantastic)…how about our young qb? it takes a good qb for our recievers and rushers to pull it off. I very much will miss Alex Smith, he had a great year in 2011 and started well this year until his injury cost him the start. But, what ive seen out of Colin Kapernick is imensely impressive. Last weeks win over NE was unbelievable for the rookie. He went up against one of the best in todays NFL and pulled our niners to a great win (along with a great offense and defense). I think we have alot more surprises to see from our new statring qb. GO NINERS!!! All my best to Alex Smith…good luck, Im sure you will find a team that neads a great qb.

  10. By Dixie Allen on Dec 23, 2012 | Reply

    Ya we love the Krab but tonight he sure needed some help it was a very sad game. Hope they learned from it so we can win against the Cardinals next week. So here we come let’s go niners you can do it.

  11. By John on Dec 24, 2012 | Reply

    Your right. Crabtree is great. Unfortunately he is unable to show how REALLY good he can be because BOTH of our QB’s (and I use that term lightly), SUCK!!!

  12. By KDB on Dec 24, 2012 | Reply

    It is now VERY CLEAR that Colin is a good QB but ALEX is a better fit for this team and for this year. Next yr different story possibly but we had an identity as a strong physical team that dominated other defenses with Alex in there. Our main identity has been lost and I really see that with Kap as our QB, that is not arguable, period.

    Merry Christmas.

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