Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin both benefiting from a healthy Michael Crabtree

Al Sacco
Jan 13, 2014 at 10:49 AM1

The 49ers had a vision of what their team would look like when they traded for Anquan Boldin to pair with Michael Crabtree this past offseason. Unfortunately for San Francisco, they had to wait and see how that vision would unfold after Crabtree went down with an Achilles' injury that would cost him most of the season. In Crabtree's absence, the offense would struggle to find it's way at times but has rebounded again with his presence.

Crabtree has now been back in the lineup for a total of seven games and the 49ers have not lost since he returned. They have only scored less than 23 points once during those seven contests (19 against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14) which is proof of a new found consistency on offense that wasn't there earlier in the season. While the 49ers are averaging just about the same amount of points per game with Crabtree back in the lineup (24.9 without him, 25.4 with him), they have not had the clunkers that seemed to find their way into the equation in the earlier part of the year. The 49ers were held to 9 points or less three times over an eight game span from Weeks 2-10.

Crabtree's numbers haven't been overly prolific as he has 30 catches for 435 yards and just one touchdown, but he has made big receptions at important times. Seven of the eight balls he caught against the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round went for first downs and three receptions moved the chains on third and fourth down. Most importantly though, Crabtree being on the field has opened up more opportunities for his teammates.

Perhaps no players have benefited more from Crabtree being back than Colin Kaepernick and Boldin. In the 11 games without Crabtree, Kaepernick struggled to maintain consistency throwing the ball. He averaged 185 yards passing a game and threw seven interceptions. In the seven games since he's had all of his weapons at his disposal, Kaepernick is averaging 226 passing yards per contest and has only thrown two interceptions.

Boldin has also seen a spike in his numbers. Before Crabtree, Boldin was averaging 4.7 catches and just under 66 yards a game. Those numbers were inflated by his 208 yard Week 1 performance as he only eclipsed the 70 yard mark in four of 11 games. Since Crabtree's return, Boldin has seen his catches per game shoot up to 6.2 and his yards increase to 89.8. He has been more consistent, gaining 70 or more yards in five of seven games and has eclipsed 90 and 100 twice each.

The real test is yet to come. Century Link Field has been a house of horrors for the 49ers over the last two seasons as they have been out scored 71-16 in their two losses. To put that into perspective, San Francisco has lost seven regular season road games in three years under Jim Harbaugh. They have been outscored by 56 points against Seattle in two games, and by 29 points in the other five losses combined.

Regardless of what happened in the past, the 49ers finally have all of their pieces in place and are as complete a team as they have been under Harbaugh. While it remains to be seen if San Francisco can reverse the recent trend of futility in Seattle, this may be the best 49er team out of three that have made the NFC Championship from 2011-2013. For that, they can thank the player they acquired, the player they got back, and the quarterback that is reaping the benefits.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • Ladale
    There is no doubt the crowd noise affected a young Kaepernick last season in Seattle, that coupled with a 9er defense injured and although they run the read option had never practiced against it. The first game this season was like five to nothing through three quarters before it got away with turnovers and a tired defense. But hey, who'd have thought that the passing game was so piss poor with the way 9ers dominated the Packers throwing the ball to start the season. What I'm encouraged by is how the 9ers moved the ball well all over the field at Candlestick but came away with field goals instead of touchdowns. If they'd put the ball in the end zone that game would have been over early. The 9ers need to just stop the run and get some speed in the backfield to contain a QB who invites pressure so he can run around ducking and dodging til something opens down field.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 4:15 AM

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

49ers 'searching for answers' to help Javon Kinlaw get healthy, says John Lynch

By David Bonilla
Oct 22

On Sunday night, a familiar face will be leading his Indianapolis Colts defense into Levi's Stadium, looking to prove that the San Francisco 49ers made a mistake by trading him last year. All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner will play against his former team for the first time since that trade. General manager John Lynch knows the move to ship Buckner, an outstanding young talent, will be questioned for years to come. The two sides just couldn't find a contract extension figure that worked well for each party. "We loved everything about DeForest," Lynch said this morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "... A lot of people, and I'm sure they'll continue to talk whether that was the right move [or] wrong move, but it's the move we made at the time,

Eisen believes 49ers start Trey Lance, when healthy, after 'totally lost' outing by Jimmy Garoppolo

By David Bonilla
Oct 25

The division is "gone" for the San Francisco 49ers, says Rich Eisen. He is typically one of head coach Kyle Shanahan's and the Niners' biggest supporters. However, even Eisen isn't sure what to make of this season, which is spiraling out of control. Eisen believes that it's probably time for Shanahan to move away from Jimmy Garoppolo and begin the 49ers' transition to Trey Lance. To say that Garoppolo's play has been uninspiring is an understatement. With the top of the NFC West seeming out of the picture, maybe it is time for a change. "[Garoppolo] looks so lost," Eisen said today on The Rich Eisen Show, the day after San Francisco's embarrassing 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. "And they came out of a bye week looking like this. And now, you're


More by Al Sacco

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone