Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers-Seahawks coverage tune in to 49ers Central tonight at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights four 49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch Sunday, 3:30 p.m., in Seattle
49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman
Tale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6 foot 1, 214 pounds, fifth season, Texas Tech
Sherman (25): 6 foot 3, 195 pounds, third season, Stanford
Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman has been selected as a first-team All Pro in two consecutive seasons.
Is Sherman the best cornerback in the league?
“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree said on Thursday.
[RELATED: Sherman: 'Strong dislike' with 49ers]
“I don’t know (anything) about the best cornerbacks in the league,” Crabtree said. “I just know teams. We are playing the Seattle Seahawks and hopefully we come out with a win.
“You study him and you study the defense, the overall defense. A lot of guys play coverages. It isn’t just man-to-man the whole game. So you got to study the whole defense. It is not just one guy. It is the entire defense.”
Sherman is not expected to shadow Crabtree or Anquan Boldin on Sunday in the NFC Championship game. He is likely to see plenty of both players as the Seahawks’ shutdown cornerback.
Crabtree and Boldin have been virtually interchangeable for the 49ers’ offense since Crabtree returned to the action after missing the first 11 games of the season while he recovered from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.
One week, Crabtree is Colin Kaepernick’s main target. The next week Boldin might be featured.
Crabtree had 102 yards receiving in the 49ers’ playoff-clinching victory over the Atlanta Falcons. In the first week of the playoffs, he had 125 yards against the Green Bay Packers. He has made a remarkable return from one of the most severe injuries a wide receiver can sustain.
“But I’ll be honest with you, I had my doubts until I saw him pushing a sled about a month and a half ago out here,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said of Crabtree’s ability to return to contribute this season. “I realized it was reality. I think everybody in his absence did a great job and it’s great to have him back and he’s doing a great job.”
Boldin is coming off a 136-yard receiving game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. On Sunday, the focus could shift back to Crabtree.
In Crabtree’s second game back he had four catches for 40 yards in a 19-17 victory over the Seahawks at Candlestick Park. Sherman was called for a holding penalty against Crabtree – one of two penalties Sherman committed in the game.
Crabtree did not have a whole lot of success against Sherman and the Seahawks defense last season, either. In two games, he caught eight passes for 86 yards.
“They move around, they are pretty good, pretty good,” Crabtree said of the Seahawks defense. “They are a good football team. We got some good guys too. So it is going to be a good game.”