The San Francisco 49ers are heading to Carolina this weekend with an offense that looks noticeably different from what the Panthers faced back in Week 10. The most obvious change has come through the air, where quarterback Colin Kaepernick is playing at his highest level inside an attack that now has its top receiver back in the mix. The play of Michael Crabtree -- showing no visible lag from his Achilles injury -- made all the difference in Sunday's 23-20 wild-card win over the Packers in frigid Green Bay. Crabtree's eight catches for 125 yards included receptions of 11, 12, 13, 14 and 31 yards, but nothing topped his clutch 17-yard grab in a third-and-10 scenario on San Francisco's final game-winning drive. Crabtree's consistency in the elements impressed his coach, to say the least: "People talk about cold weather and it'd be tough to catch balls," coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters after the game, per the Bay Area News Group. "But the greatest catcher of all time, Michael Crabtree, catches everything. It's unbelievable. "In the northern snowlands, down to the tropics' sunny scenes, he's catching the football. Where they throw a football, he'll be catching it."
Jim Harbaugh: Michael Crabtree is best 'catcher' ever
NFL.com | Jan 6