Crabtree past haunting drops, focused on team goal

January 21, 2012, 3:54 am
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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."