When the San Francisco 49ers had much success passing the football back in their Week 1 win over the Green Bay Packers, one player was not on the field to join in the aerial exploits as he was out recovering from an offseason Achilles injury. The player in question was wide receiver Michael Crabtree who watched from the sidelines as Anquan Boldin had a career game while Vernon Davis was able to exploit the middle of the Packers’ defense.
Now back to be able to contribute to the 49ers’ playoff run as they face those same Packers in a Wild Card Playoff game on Sunday afternoon, Crabtree will certainly be looking to have a big impact on the game and his play will be the biggest x-factor that the 49ers’ offense might rely upon on Sunday. Since he has returned from his Achilles injury, Crabtree’s impact has come more in him being out on the field as opposed to the numbers that he has put up in the five games he has played.
Crabtree has 19 receptions for 284 yards and one touchdown in those five outings. Just as importantly, Crabtree has allowed Boldin to once again be able to operate from the slot and open up a number of routes for him to be able to thrive in his desired role. In addition to helping his fellow receivers out, Crabtree’s return has helped Colin Kaepernick to feel much more comfortable and assured of himself when dropping back to pass or scrambling around looking to pass.
Against the Packers, Crabtree and the 49ers offense will be going up against the the 24th ranked passing defense. The Packers have given up an average of 247.3 passing yards per game, including giving up 412 yards to Kaepernick and the 49ers in Week 1. With this in mind, Crabtree will certainly have an opportunity to be able to exploit a soft pass defense and secondary. If Crabtree is able to take advantage on Sunday afternoon, he will have a big game as the 49ers begin their “Quest for Six”.