Super Bowl 2013: Why Vernon Davis Is Ultimate X-Factor for San Francisco 49ers

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Tight end Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a catch in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick is without a doubt the San Francisco 49ers' key to the offense in Super Bowl XLVII versus the Baltimore Ravens, but Vernon Davis is the ultimate X-factor.

Whether he's dispensing key blocks in the running game or providing a passing target for Kaepernick, Davis is a big reason why the 49ers have had such success on offense this season.

Now you may be thinking I'm clueless—given the fact that Davis had one of the worst seasons of his career statistically—but hold on a moment.

Do you honestly think Michael Crabtree surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career in 2012 all because of his own talent?

That's like saying Adrian Peterson rushed for more than 2,000 yards this season without any help from his offensive line.

While I'm definitely not discrediting what Crabtree has done this season, I am crediting Davis for drawing coverage away from Crabtree.

Davis had just one 100-yard receiving day this season and only one game with more than five receptions, but he knows how to turn it on when it counts.

Look no further than his 106 yards and one touchdown day against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship or his performance in last year's postseason.

In each of San Francisco's playoff games in 2011, Davis went for at least 112 yards and two touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants.

That means that Davis has eclipsed the 100-yard mark and scored at least one touchdown in three of his last four postseason games.

Not to mention his 14-yard reception against the Saints last year propelled the 49ers into the NFC Championship Game.

Furthermore, it's his ability to take care of the football and make explosive plays down the field that makes him such a threat.

The seven-year veteran never lost a fumble this season and sported 12 plays of 20 yards or more, which was tied for second in the NFL during the regular season.

Want more big plays?

Of his four touchdown catches in the 2011 postseason, three of them were from at least 28 yards out, highlighted by a 73-yard bomb in the 2011 NFC Championship Game to open up the scoring for the Niners.

We all know what Kaepernick, Crabtree and Frank Gore have done for San Francisco, but Davis doesn't receive nearly enough credit for what he has done for this offense.

He may not fill up the stat sheet come Feb. 3 in New Orleans, but you can bet Vernon Davis will leave a lasting impression on this game.


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