San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton has had a rather quiet rookie season as a foot injury early in the regular season saw him miss a significant amount of time. Yet in the 49ers’ last regular season game, a 23-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Patton showed what he was capable of when he had two big catches on the final drive which allowed Phil Dawson to connect on the game-winning field goal.
In the playoffs, Patton has had only one reception for 23 yards in the 49ers’ NFC Divisional Playoff win over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Now given how little game action Patton has seen this season and the fact that he only has three receptions in both the regular season and postseason combined, many might find it hard to picture Patton being some type of wild-card for the 49ers offense when they take on the Seattle Seahawks in their NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Many would assume that a player like running back Kendall Hunter is more of a factor for the 49ers’ offense in such a game given that he is likely to see a fair amount of carries. To refer to or assume that Hunter is a wild-card is operating under the assumption that he is some unknown commodity which he is not.
That is why Patton is a legitimate wild-card player in Sunday’s game. The 49ers wide receiver and tight end group will be going up against the best secondary in the league, and as a result, one can expect for the likes of Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis to have their hands full against the Seahawks’ secondary. In Patton’s case, he will be going up against the Seahawks’ nickel cornerback. In theory he has the easier matchup of the wide receiver/tight end group.
If he is able to get open and if Colin Kaepernick is able to have time to pass the ball without a pass rush in his face, Patton could be in a position to success when the first or second read is covered. Not always in such big games are players like Patton the one to be a factor, but every once in a while a player like Ricky Proehl comes up big with a couple of big catches. That is what Quinton Patton can do for the 49ers and why he is a wild-card player in this game.