SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Wide receiver Michael Crabtree said it had nothing to do with making a point to the Oakland Raiders, who passed on him in the draft two years ago.
“My point?” he said Monday, repeating a question. “We made a point by winning. That’s the point I was making. We won.”
Crabtree had four receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown Sunday in the San Francisco 49ers’ 17-9 victory over the Oakland Raiders. It was the first time Crabtree had gone head to head against Darrius Heyward-Bey, whom the Raiders picked over Crabtree in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. At the time, Crabtree, from Texas Tech, was considered the best receiver in the draft.
Heyward-Bey finished with three receptions for 19 yards.
Concerned about Crabtree’s potential impact in the game, the Raiders assigned Nnamdi Asomugha, arguably the best cornerback in the game, to shadow the Niners receiver for much of the day. On a few occasions, Crabtree could be seen jawing at Asomugha after a catch.
”I just take it as whatever – competition,” Crabtree said of his matchup. “Whoever is in front of me, I’m just going to do my best. I don’t really get involved in names.”
Still, it was surprising that Asomugha moved to Crabtree’s side and shadowed him almost continually.
“I wasn’t sure what we were going to get,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “Earlier this year, they played Arizona and he was on (Larry) Fitzgerald the whole game. We weren’t really sure whether he was going to move around with him or not. It was something we were potentially ready for, and at first they didn’t, but when they did, we weren’t surprised. You take it as a compliment, I guess.”
After catching just six passes in his first three games, Crabtree has now caught 18 in his past three. He agreed that he and Smith are meshing together after a slow start.
”There’s a difference, you can see that,” he said. “But like I said, it’s just a matter of time for me and Alex to connect on Sundays.”