Randy Moss: Veteran Wide Receiver Is Underrated Key to 49ers Deep Playoff Run

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 29, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 29:  Randy Moss #84 of the San Francisco 49ers sprints to the endzone in front of linebacker Sam Acho #94 of the Arizona Cardinals on a touchdown catch during the third quarter of an NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

In case you forgot, Randy Moss is still in the NFL, and he's quietly giving the San Francisco 49ers the one strength they didn't have a year ago.

That would be a deep threat.

The veteran wideout only saw one target during the Niners' Monday night drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals, but he made pretty good use of it:

Moss took a short pass in the flank, avoided two defenders and put on the jets to speed down the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown as he partied like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was still in theaters. 

Now, it's important not to overreact to this. For one thing, Moss and Monday Night Football go together like jelly and jelly—or something like that (via SportsCenter's Twitter account):

Randy Moss' 47-yard touchdown is his 18th TD on Monday Night Football.5th of 40+ yards.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 30, 2012

Moss will clearly be scoring Monday night touchdowns until the day he dies. 

Furthermore, this was his only catch—and target—from quarterback Alex Smith. Moss obviously won't be pulling in multiple catches week-in, week-out like he was a few years ago. 

But that's OK, because he doesn't need to. 

As long as Moss continues to display the blazing speed he showed on his touchdown every once in a while, defenses will have to respect him. Simply his ability to get deep and draw defenders as a legitimate downfield threat—something the Niners have always lacked—will help open up this offense.

That means more room for Michael Crabtree—who pulled in five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns on Monday night—and Vernon Davis to operate, which in turn, makes things a lot easier on Alex Smith, who often struggles with inconsistency. 

For a team that already has an elite—even that could be an understatement—defense, a solid run game led by the ageless Frank Gore and arguably the best offensive line in the league, a legitimate passing game is all it needs to get to the Super Bowl.

Randy Moss, no matter how many, or how few, touchdowns he records like the one from Monday night, is an underrated weapon in making that happen. 

Now, excuse me while I hop in my Delorean.