Once criticized for a key drop in the red zone during Super Bowl XLVII as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, Michael Crabtree has put those days long behind him.
Now a member of the Oakland Raiders, Crabtree has built a rapport with quarterback Derek Carr that has helped the Raiders get off to their best start since 2002 at 3-1.
Crabtree not only caught the game-winning touchdown in Sunday’s 28-27 comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens, but Crabtree also caught the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion in the Raiders Week 1 35-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Carr and Crabtree have been teammates for two seasons now, and despite practicing together every day Carr is still amazed at some of the catches Crabtree makes, via USA Today:
“He’ll just turn around and just catch it with one hand and it makes you feel like you can’t throw the ball hard at all,” Carr said Wednesday.
“It’s just effortless to him, sometimes he’ll catch the ball and he’s not even looking. … The stuff he does is ridiculous. He can get away with it because he’s gifted in that way. I wouldn’t tell little kids to try and catch like that.”
Overall on the season Crabtree has caught a team-high 26 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns in four games. His 26 catches ranks fourth among wide outs and the four touchdowns is tied for the league lead.
He has emerged as one of Carr’s favorite targets, especially in the red zone, ahead of second-year wide receiver Amari Cooper.
This Sunday the Raiders will host the division rival San Diego Chargers and their banged up secondary, as they just lost their best defensive back Jason Verrett to a knee injury.
San Diego’s defense is averaging 290 passing yards against per game through the first four weeks which ranks 27th out of 32 teams.