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Crabtree going the extra yard

The 49ers faced third-and-4 from their own 44 with less than 4 minutes remaining against Arizona in Week 14.

They were leading, 24-9, and trying to run time off the clock.

Quarterback Alex Smith took the shotgun snap from Eric Heitmann and looked left immediately. Receiver Michael Crabtree darted inside across the yard-line numbers from his spot wide to the left. Smith delivered the ball a little high. Crabtree caught it 2 yards short of the first-down marker, ducked and lunged forward for a 6-yard gain. The drive would continue.

The play marked the fifth time this season Crabtree has caught a pass short of the first-down marker and still converted on third down. Only three players have more than five conversions in these situations. Unlike Crabtree, those players did not miss the first five games during a contract dispute.

Third-down overachievers

The chart ranks NFL wide receivers by how many times they've converted first downs on third-down receptions caught short of the marker, according to ESPN Stats & Information.