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SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Michael Crabtree averaged 14.9 yards per reception last season after returning from Achilles surgery that forced him to miss the first 11 games of the regular season.
After an offseason in which he appeared to be back to 100-percent healthy, big things were expected of him in his contract year.
Crabtree is apparently completely healthy. After leaving the Week 4 game against the Philadelphia Eagles with an apparent foot condition, Crabtree has not missed any practice time and he’s not on the injury report. He bristled at the mere question of his health.
But through eight games, Crabtree has 37 receptions for just 362 yards – an average of 9.8 yards per reception.
“I always have high expectations for myself,” Crabtree said Thursday. “It ain’t where I want it to be. That’s why I work hard every day. That’s why I try to catch every pass thrown my way. Whatever they give me, I try my hardest to work with it.
"I’ve been here before. You guys see what you’ve seen. I can’t wait to go back out on Sunday and do my job.”
The 49ers return to action Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, trying to avoid the first three-game losing streak since Jim Harbaugh became coach in 2011.
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“We’re just not playing how we need to be playing right now,” Crabtree said. “Obviously, you guys see that. We have to play better.
“On game day, you got to make it count, every snap count, every rep count. Take that into consideration and win and beat the man in front of you and play football, good football, winning football.”
In the past, the 49ers have bounced back in tough times. They snapped two-game losing streaks last season with strings of five wins in a row and six victories in succession.
After a two-game losing streak earlier this season, the 49ers won three consecutive games.
“We’ve been here before,” Crabtree said. “It’s not our first time going through difficult times or losing. It’s something you can overcome. Something you have to go out and prove. It’s a new Sunday to play. Just got to prove you can win.”