You won't find many more competitive guys than Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree. He had payback on his mind heading into Sunday's game against the Ravens and used that motivation to have his best game in a long time.
"I feel like I owed them." Crabtree said of the Ravens following the Raiders 37-33 victory, adding he used it as motivation.
The payback Crabtree is talking about is for being on the losing end of the Super Bowl at the hands of the Ravens following the 2012 season - a game in which he had 5 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. That 2012 season was also that last time Crabtree was considered one of the top receivers in the NFL. It was his best season with career highs in catches (85), yards (1105), and touchdowns (9).
Sunday Crabtree caught nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. It was his best numbers since the final game of the 2012 season, a game in which he caught 8 passes for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns.
While his numbers were great in last Sunday's win, they were only part of what impressed his head coach.
"I thought Michael Crabtree had a phenomenal game," Jack Del Rio said Monday. "It's not just catching the ball. He made some unbelievable catches in clutch situations, but the unselfishness, the way he blocked on the perimeter. Just really, really terrific on his part. The unselfish part is what I really appreciate, where he's doing the extra blocking, doing some of the dirty work. Obviously some of those conversions on third down were huge."
It's hard to believe Crabtree needing any more motivation, considering what a fiery guy he is most of the time. But he had fallen out of favor in San Francisco last season along with having lost his faith in his quarterback - faith he says is restored in Oakland with Derek Carr.
Next up for the Raiders is the Browns - a team Crabtree has faced once in his career (a 20-10 win in 2011). So, without payback as motivation, hopefully he can find some extra motivation elsewhere.