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49ers' Michael Crabtree's contribution went beyond stat sheet

  • Anquan Boldin benefited from not having to face double coverage all the time on Sunday, hauling in a team-high six catches for 93 yards. (JOHN BURGESS/ PD)

SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman doesn't think Michael Crabtree's addition to the 49ers' passing attack affected Sunday's outcome.

“It didn't make a difference,” the Seahawks cornerback, famous for his ability to agitate, insisted after the game. “It didn't make a difference at all.”

The 49ers disagreed.

“First game, they rolled a lot of coverage to me,” said wideout Anquan Boldin, Sherman's main adversary in the teams' two meetings this year. “Having Crab back, we had different looks — it was allowing me to go one-on-one with certain guys.That's why you see a difference.”

Crabtree's numbers were merely OK. He had four catches for 40 yards on eight targets and drew two holding penalties against the Seahawks, who were penalized nine times for 85 yards. But he also had two drops, and the 49ers' only turnover of the game, an interception thrown by Colin Kaepernick, was intended for Crabtree.

But if his presence helped Boldin, then Crabtree had a huge game. In their earlier meeting, the Seahawks held Boldin to one catch for seven yards, then crowed about it afterward.

“They got nothing done. What were their numbers? What did Anquan do tonight?” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll in Sept.

Sunday, Boldin led all receivers with six catches for 93 yards. He also had the 49ers' two longest receptions — 27 and 20 yards — both of which came with one-on-one coverage from Sherman. And that was due, at least partly, to the fact the Seahawks couldn't dedicate their coverage to Boldin, as they did in Week 2.

“There (have) been times throughout the year where Anquan's gotten doubled and Vernon's (Davis) gotten doubled on the same play,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Michael's presence out there — and everything he's done and everything he's shown he can do since coming back — that's another guy, high-level guy, that's got to be accounted for.”

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