- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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NEW ORLEANS -- There is no statistic for quarterback-receiver chemistry. Jerry Rice knows it when he sees it, however, and the San Francisco 49ers legend definitely sees it when he watches Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree working together.
2012 Michael Crabtree Receiving
"Crabtree and Kaepernick, they have that swagger," Rice said from the media center at Super Bowl XLVII.
Kaepernick and former 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith targeted Crabtree on a similar percentage of pass drop backs when looking only at plays when Crabtree was on the field. The figure was 28.1 percent of the time for Smith and 32.9 percent for Kaepernick, according to Steve Martinez of ESPN Stats & Information.
But there's certainly a production gap.
Crabtree accounts for 34.3 percent of completed passes for Kaepernick. The percentage is 27.5 for Smith. Kaepernick and Smith each has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season. Kaepernick threw seven of his scoring passes to Crabtree. Smith threw four to him.
Crabtree averages nearly two additional yards per reception on passes from Kaepernick.
Why the difference?
"I hate to talk about it," Crabtree said, "but just more targets. Trust."
Crabtree stressed that he wasn't knocking Smith. He noted that his locker is next to Smith's locker, and the two talk every day. But there is also no denying the obvious. For whatever reason, Kaepernick and Crabtree appear to have something extra.
"It's how they go out, how they play, the energy on the football field," Rice said. "If they are making plays, Crabtree is always talking noise at the defender or something like that.
"You can see the swagger, you can see the confidence. I was one of those guys that I never felt like you needed to act that way, but this is a different generation of players now. It's almost sort of exciting to see.
"You see it in Kaepernick. He doesn't hold anything back."