49ers key matchup No. 1: Crabtree vs. Peterson

October 29, 2012, 4:49 pm
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This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNCBS, Ch. 5), at University of Phoenix Stadium49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Cardinals CB Patrick PetersonTale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Peterson (21): 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, second season, LSUIn the 49ers' past two games, tight end Vernon Davis has been a non-factor in the passing game with a combined three receptions for 37 yards against the New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.As much as the 49ers would like to get the ball to Davis, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman is not going to force the issue.Matchup No. 2: Brown vs. Fitzgerald
"I think when we're our best, the ball's being distributed evenly," Roman said. "There are times, though, that we will design very specific plays for Vernon and they are kind of, 'It's Vernon or it might be read No. 2,' but that's it."But I don't think you want to make a living on that. I don't think anybody does. When people try to take away something to go to extreme measures, I think you want to go do something else."Therefore, the biggest disappointment in the passing game when the Giants and Seahawks were focused on Davis is that quarterback Alex Smith did not take advantage of the opportunities to get the ball to Michael Crabtree.Crabtree was frustrated with the limited number of opportunities that came his way from Smith. He had just three catches for 26 yards against the Giants and four receptions for 31 yards against the Seahawks.Crabtree leads the 49ers with 34 catches for 368 yards and one touchdown.
Matchup No. 3: Iupati vs. CampbellThe Cardinals will likely use linebackers and safeties to blanket cover Davis. Wide receiver Mario Manningham is expected to be back on the field Monday night after missing one game with a shoulder injury.So that means there should be some chances for Crabtree, who will be matched in single coverage most of Monday night against second-year cornerback Patrick Peterson.In two meetings last season, Crabtree had success getting deep on double moves against Peterson. Crabtree had seven catches for 120 yards in the 49ers' 23-7 victory at Candlestick Park. Three weeks later, Crabtree had seven receptions for 63 yards in the 49ers' 21-19 loss."I had the opportunity to guard Crabtree last year and that prepared me for a long season," Peterson said in a conference call with Bay Area reports. "It'll be a fun matchup again. It's always fun to match up against the guys the media says are the big dogs."Peterson, who also presents a threat to the 49ers as a punt returner, has a team-leading three interceptions along with eight passes broken up in seven games. If he can handle Crabtree without much safety help, it might enable to the Cardinals to focus on neutralizing Davis."On the back end, we have to be disciplined and ready for play-action pass," Peterson said. "They want to run, run, run and thrown it over our heads for touchdowns. We have to be extremely discipline as a defense."

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