This is the second part in a series by CSNBayArea.com Insider Matt Maiocco and CSNBaltimore's Ravens Insider J. Michael that spotlights seven 49ers-Ravens matchups to watch in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday in New Orleans.
49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Ravens CB Cary Williams
Tale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Williams (29): 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, fifth season, Washburn
J. Michael's take:
Because of the season-ending knee injury to Lardarius Webb in Week 6, Cary Williams was elevated to the top cover corner and has lived up to expectations.
This is Williams’ fifth NFL season overall, second as a starter. The Ravens plucked him from the Titans’ practice squad in 2009. He rejected a 3-year, $15 million contract from the Ravens before the season because he felt he was worth more.
He tied with S Ed Reed for a team-high four interceptions. Williams nabbed the first of his career in Week 4 vs. the Browns, returning it 63 yards for a touchdown. He has two interceptions in the playoffs against the Colts’ Andrew Luck and Tom Brady of the Patriots. Williams, who admits to carrying a chip on his shoulder because he has been overlooked most of his career, dared Brady to target him again going into the game. Brady threw at Williams 12 times in a Week 3 matchup. Williams delivered, picking off a pass in the end zone to seal the AFC title victory.
“I don’t care who I face or who I’m with. I have confidence in me. I don’t even know who the toughest wide receiver is that I went up against,” Williams said. “ I faced a lot of great receivers and I got respect for everybody. It’s just a matter of me going out there and doing what I need to do for my team.”
There is little doubt that quarterback Colin Kaepernick has found his go-to receiver.
In his fourth season since the 49ers made Crabtree the No. 10 overall selection in the 2009 draft, Crabtree emerged as one of the top wide receivers in the NFL.
He caught 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns, and produced two touchdowns in the 49ers' playoff-opening victory over the Green Bay Packers. The Atlanta Falcons placed a lot of focus on slowing down Crabtree in the NFC Championship Game. He had six receptions for 57 yards, but he also opened up things for tight end Vernon Davis.
"He just keeps catching and catching and catching the ball," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, listing the qualities that make Crabtree a successful receiver. "And next his ability to get open, his route-running ability. . . . And his ability to run after the catch. Runs very much like a running back. And his ability to block. And his mind. He does a great job understanding his assignments and those around him. He's very much a complete player."