Over the second half of the 2011 season, Michael Crabtree was a key part of the 49ers offense. After struggling with injuries early in the season and taking time to develop chemistry on offense, Crabtree finished the season as the 49ers leading receiver with 72 receptions for 874 yards. He became Alex Smith's go-to guy many weeks and had some big catches along the way.
Then on Saturday, he found himself struggling to hang onto the ball. Crabtree had a touchdown early in the game, but he had at least two fairly sizable drops on passes he normally hauls in. One pass was down near his ankles, but it was a play he has made several times this season. I suppose he has done a better job on high passes, but even still, lost opportunities will eventually come back and bite a team.
The 49ers are hoping to get Delanie Walker back for Sunday's game and he could be a big addition. However, he is also likely going to be a bit rusty coming off almost a month-long layoff if he gets back on the field this Sunday. Walker was actually the 49ers leading receiver in Week 10 against the Giants with six catches for 69 yards. Of course, it is also worth noting that after he had the six catch performance against New York, he had no receptions the rest of the way. The offense shifted away and he moved into a lower profile role.
Vernon Davis is coming off the biggest performance of his career and it is safe to say the Giants will have an eye on him. He could still put up big numbers, but more than likely somebody else will have to step up among the receivers. Will Crabtree atone for his inconsistent performance last week or will we see Kyle Williams or Ted Ginn step up and become a primetime player? Ted Ginn remains a question mark so we could see a receiver corps of Crabtree, Williams, Brett Swain and Joe Hastings. That should make for an interesting day.