We're back with another in our series of Gillette "No debate" posts, today asking, "who is this year's offensive MVP?" You can vote over on their Facebook page.
The 49ers offensive MVP is a tough one to figure out because there are so many important parts. Earlier in the season I proclaimed the offensive line as my midseason MVP. It was a bit of a cop-out to take five guys, but given how they had improved as a unit, and how their protection had improved the rushing and passing games, it seemed fitting to me.
I still think there is a reasonable argument for the line as a whole, but I also think Michael Crabtree is in the offensive MVP argument for his work on third down. He has been the go-to guy in the passing game, and currently has 77 receptions for 933 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which are career highs.
The last 49ers receiver to catch 1,000 yards was Terrell Owens in 2003. In that season, Owens finished with 80 receptions for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns. It would take a monster game to match the yards and touchdowns, but Crabtree is putting up numbers pretty close to that. With 67 more yards, Crabtree will get to 1,000 yards.
While the 1,000 yard number is just a number, in the context of the 49ers developing passing game, and Michael Crabtree's continual improvement, this is a pretty big deal. What I find most impressive is his work on third downs. I'm going to go back after the season to break down Crabtree's catches, but it seems like most every game we see him making huge third down conversions.
Those pivotal catches are where his value lies, but getting up over 1,000 yards is a nice way to get him some more recognition following an outstanding 2012 season. While it would have been nice to see a Pro Bowl nod, there are so many "name" receivers in the league that it is not surprising he came up short in the voting. Eventually Crabtree will get those Pro Bowl nods, but the 49ers are getting plenty of value out of him in the meantime.