49ers player notes: Crabtree makes it home
WR Michael Crabtree: The third-year veteran, whose career-high nine receptions during last week's 25-19 victory at Detroit led all NFL players in Week 6, finally made it home to Texas on Thursday to spend the rest of the Niners' bye week. Crabtree had tweeted Wednesday that he was pulled over on a Bay Area freeway while driving to the airport and missed his flight. He said he was detained 30 minutes by an officer that later told Crabtree he was a fan of the cross-bay rival Oakland Raiders. "Just got pull over on highway 280 on my way to the airport. Police kept me for 30 mins," Crabtree tweeted, then followed up with, "Then told me he was a raiders fan and didn't like the niners!! Made me miss my flight!" Crabtree then tweeted on Thursday, "Back in Dallas, about to chill with my fam and get me some good BBQ." The 10th overall selection of the 2009 draft, Crabtree leads all San Francisco wideouts this season with 20 receptions for 209 yards. Coach Jim Harbaugh had high praise for Crabtree this week before the 49ers scattered their separate ways for the bye week. "Nine catches, 77 yards and great catches. Great, 8-yard catches at times," Harbaugh said. "Michael has been doing that all year. Blocking extremely well again in this game. He was a game-ball worthy guy in this game. Continues to just make the spectacular catch that keeps drives alive, gets first downs, converts on third down."
RB Frank Gore: The seventh-year veteran is a finalist for FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week honors for the second week in a row after rushing for a season-high 141 yards on just 15 carries against the Lions. Gore's 9.4 average per carry was the highest of any NFL running back with more than 10 carries last week. Gore already has been named ESPN Samsung Next Level Player of the Week for his performance against the Lions, which included a one-yard touchdown run. Gore had big runs of 47 and 55 yards against the Lions, and they came right through the middle of the Detroit defense. In fact, 138 of his 141 rushing yards came up the middle. The 49ers running back had it so easy that he averaged 8.3 yards before first contact. Gore has rushed for 393 yard on just 50 carries over the past three games to climb to fifth among the NFL's rushing leaders with 541 yards. Gore has three consecutive games of 125 yards rushing or more and is in the midst of the best three-game stretch of his career since he rushed for 505 yards in a three-game span in November of 2006. Gore, with 6,955 career rushing yards, needs 70 yards rushing to pass Roger Craig and move into second place among the franchise's all-time leading rushers.
OLB Aldon Smith: After being named NFL Rookie of the Week last week for his performance in an Oct. 9 blowout of Tampa Bay, the Niners' first-round draft pick was nominated again this week for his outstanding performance against the Lions, when he had two sacks, one forced fumble, one pass defensed, one quarterback hit, one tackle for loss and four tackles to go along with the first safety of his career. Smith leads the 49ers and ranks fifth in the NFL with 5.5 sacks, which leads all NFL rookies. Smith has recorded each of those sacks in the past three weeks, which leads the NFL for most sacks over that span.
NT Isaac Sopoaga: The eighth-year veteran said this week that he didn't contract a staph infection two weeks ago, as had been reported earlier. Sopoaga said he didn't take care of a cut on his hand and it became infected. But why then did Sopoaga have to stay away from the team facility? Staph infections can be contagious. No matter, Sopoaga only missed one game and was back starting against the Lions. Sopoaga said he will remain in the Bay Area during the bye and is looking forward to the extra time off this week and is planning to take his young daughters to "Disney on Ice." Sopoaga had tickets to go not once, but twice. "I might be in the NFL as a man, but when it comes to Disney, I'm a big kid," Sopoaga said.
LB Patrick Willis: The fifth-year veteran allowed ESPN to film him recently about his relationship with his father, Earnest, who has struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction. Willis's mother left the family when he was 4, and Earnest had his four kids taken away from him at one point. Willis, however, has never given up on his dad and said they are closer now than they have ever been. Willis will be a part of ESPN's "E: 60" show this week.
QB Alex Smith: The seventh-year veteran is the NFL's eighth-ranked quarterback with a passer rating of 95.2. Smith ranks second in the league with a quarterback rating of 128.9 against the blitz. He's thrown four touchdown passes when being blitzed, which ranks fifth in the league. After leading the 49ers to comeback victories over Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Detroit, Smith is one short of the team single-season record of four comeback victories set by Joe Montana in 1989.
C Jonathan Goodwin: The newcomer veteran, acquired by the 49ers this summer as a free agent, is an earnest and calm presence on the offensive line. The 49ers racked up five false-start penalties against the Lions, but only two of those were on offensive linemen, which is a credit to Goodwin and his ability to execute a silent count.
WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr.: The fifth-year veteran's 40-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter against the Lions set up San Francisco's game-winning touchdown. It was Ginn's longest punt return since he took one back 55 yards for a touchdown against Seattle in the season opener. Ginn's 13.7-yard average returning punts ranks fourth in the NFL among players with 10 or more returns. His 31.8 average on kickoff returns ranks third among players with 10 or more returns.
TE Delanie Walker: The sixth-year veteran made the best play of his career by extending into the end zone on his 6-yard reception with 1:51 left to beat the Lions. The do-or-die play came on fourth-and-goal and was Walker's third touchdown reception of the season, which ties him for the team lead with fellow tight end Vernon Davis.
LB Parys Haralson: The sixth-year veteran sat out the last part of the Detroit game with a hamstring pull, but he should be fine after the bye week.
LB NaVorro Bowman: The second-year veteran continued his standout play against the Lions with a game-high 17 tackles, and he now ranks fifth among the NFL's leading tacklers with 56 stops.
C Chase Beeler: The rookie was signed back to the 49ers' practice squad. Beeler originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent on July 27 and was released last week. He was originally signed to San Francisco's practice squad on Sept. 4.
WR Braylon Edwards: The seventh-year veteran, who suffered a knee injury against Dallas in Week 2, stayed at the team's training facility into the afternoon earlier this week to get a workout on his surgically repaired knee. He hopes to be back in action for the game against the Browns on Oct. 30.
S Colin Jones: The rookie has been on the practice squad, on the street and on the active roster in the first six weeks of the regular season. The team's sixth-round draft pick, Jones could stick on the 53-man squad this time if he continues to play well covering punts and kickoffs.
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