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May 21, 2012
The 49ers' most reliable targets from 2011


Jim Harbaugh's "best hands ever" quote from last week prompted me to go back over San Francisco's 2011 statistics - both regular season and postseason - in terms of which receiver caught the most passes thrown his way.

These numbers, of course, don't speak directly to a player's hands. The numbers are influenced by factors such as the route, the type of coverage employed, whether a receiver is matched against the team's best cornerback and the quality of the throw. But considering that one of the factors for each one of these players was constant - Alex Smith was the quarterback - they are worth noting.

Below are the pass catchers who were targeted at least 15 times last year. The first number listed is the times a receiver was targeted, the second his catches.

Joshua Morgan: 18-15, 83 percent.
Vernon Davis: 110-77, 70 percent
Michael Crabtree: 131-77, 59 percent
Ted Ginn, Jr.: 36-20, 56 percent
Kyle Williams: 41-22, 54 percent
Delanie Walker: 39-21, 54 percent
Braylon Edwards: 34-15, 44 percent

Something that caught my eye: Everyone's percentage, aside from Vernon Davis', went down as the season progressed, perhaps because of the weather or the caliber of opponent or both. Davis also was the only pass catcher who had any success in the playoffs. He caught 10 of the 15 passes that went his way (for 292 yards and four touchdowns).

The rest of the group combined to catch 10 of the 33 passes that went their way against the Saints and Giants. Crabtree caught five of 16 passes thrown in his direction; Williams caught two of the 10 passes on which he was targeted.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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