Packers-49ers: Williams vs. Crabtree a matchup to watch

Packers CB Tramon Williams faces a tough task against 49ers WR Michael Crabtree
Packers CB Tramon Williams faces a tough task against 49ers WR Michael Crabtree
Packers CB Tramon Williams faces a tough task against 49ers WR Michael Crabtree

When the 49ers turned to Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback, they added yet another dimension to an already dangerous team.

Kaepernick made the first start of his NFL career Nov. 19 against the Chicago Bears. He started the final seven games of the season, throwing 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In four of his seven starts, Kaepernick posted a passer rating of over 100.

And the 49ers’ newfound success at quarterback has allowed wide receiver Michael Crabtree to emerge as a go-to receiver.

Over the past five weeks, Crabtree has been one of the hottest receivers in football. Since week 13, Crabtree is averaging seven catches and 107.6 yards per game. Tight end Vernon Davis, another dangerous weapon for Kaepernick, is averaging just 1.2 catches and 12.2 yards per game over that same five-game span.

The 49ers went 3-2 over the final five weeks of the regular season. Those numbers suggest that teams are focusing on taking Davis out of the game, which has allowed Crabtree to evolve into the true No. 1 receiver in San Francisco.

And on Saturday, Packers cornerback Tramon Williams will face is toughest opponent since Dec. 16 against Brandon Marshall. Williams has been up-and-down during the 2012-13 season. He turned in his worst performance of the season in week 17 at Minnesota, according to Pro Football Focus.

But his +3.6 PFF grade this week at Lambeau Field was his second-highest of the season. With the way Crabtree is playing for the 49ers, the Packers will need Williams to be at his best Saturday night. rated Crabtree as the league’s seventh-best wide receiver in the regular season. Williams graded out as the 60th-best cornerback according to PFF.

Crabtree has caught at least seven passes in four of the 49ers’ last five games. Williams has allowed more than three receptions just once over the past five games. He allowed four receptions for 51 yards against Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions in week 14, according to PFF.

So something’s gotta give this weekend when the 49ers have the ball.

In the season opener at Lambeau Field, Crabtree caught seven of the eight passes thrown his way for 76 yards. PFF charged Williams with allowing four of those receptions for a total of 42 yards. But when the 49ers take the field on Jan. 12, their offense is very different than it was in week one.

There is certainly no shortage of storylines on Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers will be back in California, playing against the team that passed him up with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Mike McCarthy will be coaching against the 49ers, where he was the offensive coordinator before being named head coach of the Packers. The last time the Packers played in San Francisco in the postseason was the 1998 wild card round when Terrell Owens caught the game-winning pass down the seam of the Packers’ defense.

But one of the most important on-field battles on Saturday night will be between Williams and Crabtree.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


19 thoughts on “Packers-49ers: Williams vs. Crabtree a matchup to watch

  1. Did PFF take into account that Williams virtually always takes on the other teams #1 reciever. He is way better than 60th.

    Last year he was on the field more plays and thrown at more than more, because he took tough assignments. However, he allowed on the the lowest catch per play percentages in the league. All of us hardcore fans remember how huge he was in the 2010 playoffs.

    Williams is probably lcking his chops at a chance to test his skills against Crabtree. He did well against johnson and marshall, he should do well again.

    1. yes..add to that he faces Megatron twice and Brandon Marshall twice. Williams arguably has the toughest task of any DB in the league..

    2. It’s also been shown that teams’ #1 receivers do really well against the Packers defense.

      Williams has not been playing as well as we need him to be, no matter how well you rank him against other CBs.

  2. Williams is starting to remind me of Dione (who i dislike by way) Sanders was exceptinal cover wise but couldnt / wouldnt tackle to save his life. WHile a little below Sanders as cover corner (almost as good) Tramon is apparently avoiding tackling, at least run support tackling). I do understand it probably has to do with lingering issues with his shoulder. Tramon used to not be like this.Hopefully his shoulder heals more over offseason and next yr Tramon regains confidence in shoulder again.This is probable reason for lower grade byPFF.Saying all this, I am glad Tramon plays for Packers and hope he remains Packer for his whole career.

    1. I was really watching for William’s performance as a tackler last week, and I don’t recall an opportunity. Looks like a defensive scheme that never had him in position to have to make a run support stop. If you have someone who can realistically blanket the other team’s #1 WR but won’t stop their RB, I’ll take it.

  3. this is going to be a tough game. the key matchup to me will be the packers front seven against the niners OL. in the first game they got pushed around. smith was good because his play action was set up so well. the niners did whatever they wanted offensively in that game. the formula for beating the niners is the same as it was for the vikings. score early and make them one dimensional. kaepernick is good, but not that great if he cannot rely on play action.

    the early production of the offense will have just as big of an impact as any singular matchup on defense.

    1. FireMMNow,
      I think you hit it on the head. From a distance, this game looks eerily like the Giants game last January. The Front Seven have to maintain some control, as they did in Minnesota last week, or there will be large openings on the back end for No. 7 to carve-up with play action. This game will be decided in the trenches for both sides.

  4. The pack was physically out played in the last game. I just don’t see whats changed. Did our players get stronger since week one? Did our Oline get better? Without baloga? EDS is stronger the Saturday, so that may help in the run game? Our starting running back just averaged 2 ypc the last game against the queens. The niners are better then the queens and the niners crushed our running game in week one.

    The niners also physically manhandled our D front with their road graders on the Oline. Now we dont have Perry or Smith to rotate in the mix up front. The packers have better skilled players and a all universe QB, which is big..but, these playoff games are won by being physical up front. I hope we have answer to match Friscos brutalness.

    I hate to keep saying this, but the x Factor is justin smiths tricep

    1. “The niners are better then the queens and the niners crushed our running game in week one…”

      The Vikings physically whipped the 49’rs this year in head-to-head competition. They also have looked increasingly susceptible in pass defense as the year has gone on, including the Vikings and Christian Ponder.

      Turnover margin and field position will determine the outcome. Rodgers can’t flip the field with coverage sacks. Those 4 + second sacks can’t happen against San Fran.

      Any given Sunday.


      If you look at the stats, the Packers did actually better than the 49ers both in defense AND offense in sacks per attempt.

      Running game is a different story, but as far as protecting and getting after the QB, it’s advantage Packers.

      The real problem I identified from the first game is that the Packers were outcoached, badly. This cannot happen again. The game plan must be solid (NO JARRETT BUSH) if the Packers want to advance. This last game brought hope to me, the gameplan both on offense and defense (till the run-run-pass-punt fiasco) was outstanding.

      But Harbaugh/Fangio >> Musgrave/Frazier.

      To me, it’s the hardest game of the season.

  5. What I was saying about the running ames in week one is that the niners RBs had 153 yards , 6.1 ave. The packs RBs had 18 yards, 2.0 ave. Overall rushing- niners 186 yards, pack 45..Arod was our leading rusher.

    The niners Offense scored 30 pts…Packs Offense 15 pts. The Packers got completely worked over in game 1.

    I hope im wrong, maybe im over thinking this, but the niners just seem more physical.

    There are positives…no J Bush…Woodson only at saftey (not in the slot) ..Shields, Raji , Heyward and Neal playing better, no replacement refs! Most of all, MM not relying on the deep pass as much.

    Negatives…not at Lambeau, niners are well rested, they MAY have a better QB this time

    I hope the Packers beat Harbaugh and his forty winners. ..if so, they are on their way to the SB

    1. Woodson is fresh and will be a huge factor in this game. Raji is playing much better now than he was in the beginning of the season. Mike Neal needs to step up big in this game. We need to see that strength that we keep hearing about. In week one the Packers had several rookies playing in their 1st NFL game. 17 games later they’re not rookies. If Justin Smith has problems with his injury and is ineffective, that will make a huge difference in this defense. Finally we have Rodgers. That’s a huge difference in the QB position. Throw in that it’s 60 miles from where he grew up, I think we just could see one for the ages by Rodgers. I believe this will be the toughest game the Packers will play in the postseason and one that will be decided by the Packers defense.

    2. There is no need to compare week one to this week’s game. Both teams are way different then that first match-up. Stop fixating on the week one 9’ers. The play in that game was to determine what type of personality the defense wanted to convey to everyone else and to themselves. The Pack defense didn’t even know their own identity. With so many inexperienced guys playing that game, what does it matter how the other team looked then. Our defense played the rookies and we lost. So What!!! It was week 1. What matters is the game this weekend and no one knows exactly how it will play out. The Pack are on a similiar roll as in 2010. But with better talent then we had then. (Uh-oh) Every single game they were the underdogs in 2010. Remember what happened that season? Try being and thinking positive for once and just let the guys play their game. We could be like many other team’s fans out there and not even be talking about post season play. How would that suite you? Not me. I want to talk about post season play every year from here on out. My wish is that the Packers are the NFC version of the Patriots… in the play-offs every year. Awesome! The Packers are on a hot roll and the 49’ers are good team. This should be a great game that I am looking forward to. GO PACK! From your true Packer fans, to the team… GREAT JOB GUYS. GLAD YOU GOT US THIS FAR AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT THE SUPER BOWL!!!!! It’s a great time to be a Packer Backer.

      1. LOL.. I think that’s pretty much what I said. Neal was suspended, the rookies WERE rookies without a regular season game under their belt. There’s really nothing to compare. Oh, and the Packers HAVE been in the playoffs every year or just about anyways. The last 4 years and 5 of the last 6. Throw in that Farve guy and he didn’t do to bad getting us to playoffs either. GO PACK GO!

  6. This one comes down to coaching… who will adapt faster, who makes the proper adjustments, who sets their ego aside and makes the decision to win the damn game…

  7. Traemon Williams is about as useful as a cock flavored lollipop! He sucks outloud! The first agenda in the offseason is to cut him and the second agenda is to fire Dom Capers! They need to draft all defensive players!

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