Michael Crabtree motivates offense with challenge



SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — It was a natural moment for Michael Crabtree to address his 49ers teammates when he turned 25 last Friday.

So, Crabtree obliged, on the field after practice. And he surprised a few of his San Francisco colleagues with a spot-on message: The defense has been doing so much to carry San Francisco, he called for the offense to match that performance.

Coach Jim Harbaugh presented the wide receiver with a celebratory red velvet cupcake and hand-written card, a regular gesture for players’ birthdays. Two days later, Crabtree did his part to make good on his theme — delivering three third-down conversion catches in a 27-19 win over the Lions.

His teammates certainly appreciated the thoughtful words Friday as much as they did the big plays Sunday.