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Arians: Michael Crabtree not yet 'same guy' post injury

Michael Crabtree has done what the 49ers had hoped he'd do this season.

The wide receiver returned from Achilles' tendon surgery last month and has made an immediate impact. Crabtree caught his first touchdown of the season in Week 15, then followed that up with five catches for 102 yards in a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

Crabtree is producing like a healthy player, but members from the Niners' Week 17 opponent see a player still working to get back to what he was.

"He's slowly getting back into the groove, like he's trying to get back in game shape, get back moving the way he used to," Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said Thursday, via The Sacramento Bee. "You can tell he doesn't look as comfortable as he did when he was healthy. That's going to come with time."

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians shares a similar opinion.

"I do not see the same guy," he said. "But he's getting really close."

Though this could be seen as a dig on Crabtree, the reality of the situation is that the wideout is coming off major surgery. The Niners have to be thrilled he has been able to produce this quickly.

Crabtree is one of the difference-makers in the NFC playoff picture. When he and Colin Kaepernick are right, it takes San Francisco's offense to another level.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" delivered a Christmas gift, analyzing the chaotic playoff picture in both conferences.

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