The San Francisco 49ers had plenty of reasons to be concerned about their performance against the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday, but there were certainly some positives to come from the game. Of particular note is the fact that WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis both had big games for the team. Crabtree had his first career 100-yard receiving effort while Davis had his fourth career 100-yard receiving effort. Additionally, it was the first time a pair of 49ers teammates had surpassed 100 yards receiving in the same game since Jerry Rice and JJ Stokes did it January 3, 2000 against the Falcons.
For Davis and Crabtree it also marked season highs for both players. The team has been working to open up the offense and this was certainly a good start, but hopefully this isn't the last time we see a pair of 100-yard receiving efforts. While Frank Gore can certainly carry this team at times, if Davis and Crabtree were able to establish themselves as consistently dominant receiving threats week in and week out, it would really open up a lot things for the offense. Considering the fact that both Davis and Crabtree can do a lot of things over the middle, that makes it even more so.
In looking back at their performances against the Eagles, which of the two would be more worthy of the game ball? Crabtree had some important catches on the opening touchdown drive, the last touchdown drive, and a field goal in between. Davis was shut down in the first half, but in the second half he had some huge catches, for bigger gains than Crabtree. While Crabtree was targeted 14 times for his 9 receptions, Vernon Davis was targeted only 7 times for his 5 receptions.
It's a tough call for me. On the one hand Crabtree was more active, but on the other hand Davis had several longer receptions. Of course part of that depends on the types of plays being run towards the specific player and the kind of coverage on that player. I think I'll go with Crabtree but it's a close call.
Whichever one is worthy of the game ball, they will both be key this weekend against a stout Raiders pass defense. The most intriguing matchup could very well be Michael Crabtree versus Nnamdi Asomugha, wouldn't you think?