Patton promised 'homeboy' a dance if he scored touchdown
Quinton Patton had four receptions for 35 yards against the Vikings, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
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SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Quinton Patton was not able to catch passes with both hands for the first three weeks of training camp due to a broken index finger on his left hand.
And that meant he could not play in the 49ers' first two exhibition games.
As it turns out, perhaps, the initial setbacks actually proved to benefit the rookie wide receiver when he finally was cleared to suit up with his teammates for a game.
Patton made the most of his time on the sideline during the first two weeks, as he was able to watch two live NFL games and absorb the kind of information in real time that is unavailable in a film room.
"You get a lot more mental reps and visuals from everybody of what's going on," Patton said. "You get people on the sideline like Anquan Boldin when they get done with their series, they'll pull me to the side and say, 'Look, in this coverage do this.' You see the leverage going during a live game, so that helped me as a player."
And when Patton was able to begin catching passes, he caught more than anyone else on the field Sunday night in the 49ers' 34-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Patton had four receptions for 35 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick.
[RECAP: 49ers 34, Vikings 14]
Patton looked so impressive that coach Jim Harbaugh had to stop himself from heaping too much praise on the fourth-round draft pick.
"I don't think that the big stage bothers him, and it doesn't make him nervous," Harbaugh said. "He's a competitor, you notice that. Boy, you hate to say too much more about a rookie player. (Let's) see if he can't keep getting better."
Said Patton, "(I'm) always nervous before a game until the first hit and you be like, 'OK, the hard part is over with.' It was just great being out there with my teammates."
Patton, who is a lock to make the 49ers' 53-man roster, also received strong praise from Kaepernick.
[RELATED: 49ers projected 53-man roster]
"He is a great player," Kaepernick said. "He is someone who just knows football. He knows how to get open. He knows how to make plays. I'm looking forward to see what he can do for us.
"He is someone that is easy to have chemistry with. He knows where the windows are in defenses. He knows how to get open."
Patton said he figures he'll have more opportunities to get open when Kaepernick is flushed out of the pocket.
"Kap has great legs," he said, "so anyway you can try to sneak in and get a ball somewhere when he starts scrambling and find a hole in the defense anywhere."
The highlight of Patton's debut came in the first quarter. He lined up in the left slot against the coverage of Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson. Patton had a couple steps on Robinson running along the back line of the end zone. Kaepernick rolled right and hit Patton in stride.
Then, Patton celebrated, bending at the hips, moving his arms side to side and sliding his feet back and forth. It was a dance he learned from former Louisiana Tech teammate Dave Clark.
"He always did it," Patton said. "I guess he knew I was going to make it to the League. He said, 'If you ever score, do the dance for me.' I said, 'All right, if I remember.'
"I don't know what it's called. I've always seen him doing it, and I liked it, so he taught me how to do it."
Afterward, Patton talked to Clark, who gave him high marks.
"He said I was hittin' it good. So I guess I was doing it good."