Crabtree past haunting drops, focused on team goal


Crabtree past haunting drops, focused on team goal

SANTA CLARA -- Receiver Michael Crabtree's first playoff touchdown came in the first quarter of his first playoff game.But Crabtree, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was not remotely satisfied with his performance Saturday in the 49ers' 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC divisional round.While Crabtree caught four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown, he also failed to hold onto three other catchable passes from quarterback Alex Smith."That's not normal for me to drop the ball," Crabtree said Friday. "But two or three drops, it haunted me. I couldn't sleep. But at the same time you just have to put that behind you, and just go catch the ball."
Crabtree should have plenty of opportunities on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the New York Giants.Tight end Vernon Davis torched the Saints with seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Davis figures to be the focus of the Giants' pass defense. Crabtree, who had team and career highs with 72 catches for 874 yards during the regular season, is likely to see a lot of single coverage against the Giants."My responsibility is big every game because I'm a receiver," Crabtree said. "There's a lot on my shoulders to just go out and play. That's all I can tell you."Crabtree, who came to the NFL after a prolific college career at Texas Tech, has surprised some with his willingness to play without the ball.His block on Saints cornerback Tracy Porter was not as impressive as those thrown by Kyle Williams or Joe Staley, but it was every bit as important to open the way for Smith's 28-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.After entering the league with the reputation as a "diva," Crabtree has clearly bought into coach Jim Harbaugh's blue-collar mindset."It's really helped us focus on the team," Crabtree said. "Anything to make the team better, everybody is doing - blocking, catching the ball, trying YAC (yards after catch), being a decoy. However you want to call it. We've just been doing our job."When asked this week what kind of season Crabtree had for the 49ers, Harbaugh answered, "Michael's had a 14-3 year as a receiver."And with one more victory, Crabtree will be one step closer to what drives him, he said."I look at our record," Crabtree said. "I don't really look at my stats. I look at the record. My goal is to win a Super Bowl. I'm just doing whatever it takes to win."

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

Report: 49ers seek first-round pick for Staley

If the 49ers are active at the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 1, the organization figures to be sellers.

With a 1-6 record, mired in a six-game losing streak and seemingly fielding a less-competitive team every week, the 49ers do not figure to be in the buying market with the trade deadline approaching.

Left tackle Joe Staley, 32, one of the team’s few players who would be attractive to a contender, is available for a first-round draft pick, according to Pro Football Talk. The report cited a “source with knowledge of the dynamics.”

Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is also on the trade market for a second-round pick, according to the report. The teams mentioned with potential interest in acquiring Staley or Thomas are the Vikings, Giants, Cardinals, Seahawks and Patriots, reports PFT.

Staley has a base salary of $5.4 million this season. His pay increases to $8.95 million next season, including $8.25 million in base salary. He is signed through the 2019 season.

Staley, a first-round draft pick in 2007, has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls.

If the 49ers trade Staley, it could open the way for right tackle Trent Brown to move to the left side. The only other tackle on the roster is rookie John Theus. Veteran guard Zane Beadles is also capable of playing tackle.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. (PT). The 49ers enter their bye week after Sunday's 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team’s next game is Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints.

Kickers miss short field goals in OT; Seahawks, Cardinals tie


Kickers miss short field goals in OT; Seahawks, Cardinals tie

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37.

The Cardinals (3-3-1) dominated the game statistically and looked to be in shape to win it after Carson Palmer's 40-yard pass to J.J. Nelson set up Catanzaro's short kick.

The Seahawks (4-1-1), stuffed throughout regulation by the Arizona defense, took over and Russell Wilson completed passes of 31 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 27 yards to Doug Baldwin to give Houschka his short attempt.

Both kickers made field goals on their teams' first possession of overtime.

Catanzaro, who kicked field goals of 46 and 45 yards, also had a 39-yard field goal blocked by a stunning play by Bobby Wagner.

Until the overtime, the only time the Seahawks crossed midfield came when Tanner McEnvoy blocked Ryan Quigley's punt with 4:33 to play. That gave Seattle the ball on the Arizona 27 and led to Hauschka's 40-yard field goal that tied it at 3 with four minutes to play.

Catanzaro's 46-yard field goal put Arizona up 3-0 with 3:11 left in the first half and the Cardinals nursed that lead until the blocked punt.

On a bruising night, Arizona's David Johnson had a career-high 41 touches. He carried the ball 33 times for 113 yards and caught eight passes for 58 yards. Russell Wilson, obviously slowed by leg problems, complelted 24 of 37 passes for 225 yards, most of the damage coming in the overtime. He carried the ball once for minus-two yards.

Arizona's defense nearly scored halfway through the fourth quarter when Chandler Jones hit Wilson as he was about to pass and the ball bounced toward the Seattle goal line, but Michael Glowinski jumped on it for Seattle and the 4-yard line, a 20-yard loss.


The Cardinals had the first scoring threat. Catanzaro lined up for a 39-yard field goal but 245-pound linebacker Wagner jumped over Arizona long snapper Aaron Brewer like an Olympic hurdler and blocked it. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians argued loudly for a penalty and was charged with a timeout when he challenged a play that is not reviewable. That proved significant when the Cardinals couldn't stop the clock to get off a short field goal attempt as the first half ended.


The Cardinals were without speedster John Brown after doctors diagnosed sickle cell traits that were causing leg pain. The other wide receiver named Brown, Jaron, left the game early with a knee injury, depleting is usually one of the league's deeper wide receiver corps.