Richard Sherman last night said Michael Crabtree's addition had no impact on Sunday's outcome. "It didn't make a difference at all," the Seahawks cornerback insisted.
Au contraire, said the 49ers.
"First game, they rolled a lot of coverage," wideout Anquan Boldin said after San Francisco's 19-17 win. "Today, you know, 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 a couple of 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 by Colin Kaepernick, was on a pass to 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 on Sept. 15.
On 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. For the second straight game, Boldin was extremely animated at times, and at one point his physical play included knocking away the arms of an official who was trying to restrain him. The same officiating crew that ejected defensive end Justin Smith for far less egregious contact with an official in 2010 in San Diego was in charge of Sunday's game.
This time it was Boldin who was talking after the game. Asked about the physical play with Sherman and others, he said, "That's the way that I play. If guys want to pretend to be tough, then I look forward to it. Talking -- that's just what they do, you know what I'm saying? So I let my play speak for itself."
Last year, Crabtree made waves by becoming the first 49ers receiver since Terrell Owens to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. He finished the regular season with 1,105 yards. Boldin is on pace to finish with 1,126 yards this season. He also surpassed 11,000 yards for his career. Here's where he stands in all-time receiving yards:
27. Keenan McCardell: 11,373
28. Larry Fitzgerald: 11,187
29. Anquan Boldin: 11,080
30. Chad Johnson: 11,059
31. Joey Galloway: 10,950
-- Matt Barrows