49ers key matchup No. 2: Crabtree vs. Peterson

49ers key matchup No. 2: Crabtree vs. Peterson
December 29, 2012, 9:30 am
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If he racks up 67 receiving yards Sunday, Michael Crabtree would become the 49ers' first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003. (AP)

This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Cardinals matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Candlestick Park.

49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson

Tale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Peterson (21): 6-foot-1, 219 pounds, second season, LSU

Patrick Peterson has been selected to the Pro Bowl in both of his first two seasons. Michael Crabtree leads the 49ers in receiving, but he is not even a Pro Bowl alternate.

Yet, Crabtree has gotten the better of Peterson in their head-to-head matchups.

Crabtree, who mostly sees Peterson lined up against him, caught 14 passes for 183 yards in two games last season against the Arizona Cardinals. When the 49ers traveled to Arizona earlier this season, Crabtree caught five passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns with Alex Smith at quarterback.

Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns in the 49ers' 24-3 victory over the Cardinals on Oct. 29. Smith has not played a full game since being named NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Smith sustained a concussion in the 49ers' next game, and coach Jim Harbaugh kept Colin Kaepernick at quarterback upon Smith's return.

[RELATED: Key matchup No. 3 -- Goldson vs. Hoyer]

A year ago, Peterson made the NFC Pro Bowl team as a punt returner. This time, he was among three cornerbacks selected for the team. Peterson, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 draft, got the nod over Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

"Although last year was a huge accomplishment, this one is 10 times better," Peterson told the Arizona Republic. "I want to set myself up to be a great cornerback, not a punt returner. Being a punt returner, that's huge, but I want to be known as a defensive back."

Meanwhile, Crabtree is enjoying his best season. He ranks 16th in the NFL with 77 receptions. He is No. 22 in the NFL with 933 yards. Crabtree is making a bid to become the 49ers' first 1,000-yard receiver since Terrell Owens in 2003.

Crabtree averaged 5.5 receptions and 70.5 yards per game in his first six games with Kaepernick as the starter.

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