SANTA CLARA -- Michael Crabtree helped spark the 49ers second-half surge Monday night, and he finished with 102 receiving yards, his first 100-yard game this season. But the man who will be covering him in Sundays regular-season finale doesnt think the 49ers wideout has fully recovered from his torn Achilles tendon.
Hes slowly getting back into the groove, like hes trying to get back in game shape, get back moving the way he used to, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said Thursday. You can tell he doesnt look as comfortable as he did when he was healthy. Thats going to come with time.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians agreed.
I do not see the same guy, he said of Crabtree. But hes getting really close.
The Cardinals and Peterson in particular know exactly what Crabtree is capable of when hes healthy. He missed the teams first meeting this season Oct. 13. Last year, however, he had two of his best games against Peterson. In the first, he had five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. In the regular-season finale, he had the best statistical game of his career with eight catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said its only natural Crabtree isnt yet back to his 2012 form.
How many games has he played? Four? Roman said. Thats like the preseason for most people with no training camp.
Still, Crabtrees impact is undeniable. Hes played in all but one game of the 49ers five-game winning streak. And Colin Kaepernicks quarterback rating 89.9 this season has been 98.3 in Crabtrees four games.
Peterson certainly wasnt trying to disrespect an opponent; he said the speed at which Crabtree has returned from his injury is impressive.
He still can get away from defensive backs, Peterson said. He still has the ability to take the top off the defenses and things like that. He does a great job of gaining yards after the catch. He reminds me of a Dez Bryant, a guy that is tough to tackle once he gets a ball in his hands.
Added Peterson with a chuckle: He looked really, really good Monday. Hopefully, he doesnt look good Sunday.
Whitner feels vindicated Safety Donte Whitner said he was not fined by the NFL for his second-quarter hit on Falcons running back Steven Jackson, which drew unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Whitner said he hasnt had any money deducted from his paychecks for any of the penalties hes received for alleged illegal hits this season. He was fined $21,000 for a hit on Rams wide receiver Chris Givens in Week 4 but said he won his appeal.
Whitner said officials are misinterpreting any hard hit as an illegal one. And he said his technique should be used as a model by a league that wants to do away with dangerous hits but ostensibly wants to preserve the games toughness.
You have to have a poster boy in the National Football League who can still hit hard and do it the right way and show people how to do it the right way, Whitner said. ... Its playing the game the way its supposed to be played and trying to tweak it in those really, really fast moments when you hit a guy.
Et cetera The NFL will announce players for the Pro Bowl today at 6 p.m., and the first draft for the game will be Jan. 22 on the NFL Network. The Associated Press will announce its All-Pro teams Jan. 3.
• Wide receiver Mario Manningham, who was inactive for Mondays game, did not practice Thursday. Manningham has a knee injury.
• Running back Frank Gore (knee), guard Mike Iupati (knee) and tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) were limited in practice.