SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Vernon Davis is giving opposing safeties fits. Whether it's Davis hurdling over defenders, sprinting by them or easily out-leaping them in the end zone, nobody seems to be able to stop San Francisco's speedy tight end.
He has produced one of the best stretches of his eight-year career down the stretch for the 49ers.
The Atlanta Falcons certainly have a fresh memory of Davis' spectacular day from last January's NFC championship game.
Months later, with Atlanta coming to Candlestick Park on Monday night, Davis has caught touchdown passes in five straight games and will look for another dominant display against the Falcons. He caught a pair of touchdown passes and had five receptions total for 106 yards in that 28-24 victory that sent San Francisco back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years.
"He's the kind of tight end who blocks at the highest level, has speed of the highest level, catching ability, ability to get open," coach Jim Harbaugh said Thursday. "An all-tool tight end, which is rare."
Davis' streak is the longest by a 49ers player since Terrell Owens caught touchdown passes in eight straight games from Nov. 8-Dec. 27, 1998, and also a five-game TD stretch in 2001. The 29-year-old Davis needs one more touchdown catch to match his career high of 13 set in 2009.
With last week's TD catch at Tampa Bay, Davis became the first tight end in NFL history to produce two 12-touchdown seasons.
That pretty 52-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick showed how well these two are working together in Kaepernick's first full season as starter.
"He's a big playmaker in our offense," left tackle Joe Staley said of Davis. "The coaches do a good job of drawing up plays for him and he delivers. That was a heck of a throw Colin had and a good job by Vernon to haul it in."
Davis' latest defensive victim was Buccaneers safety Mark Barron. Davis beat him and made a high catch with arms outstretched at the goal line to put San Francisco ahead 17-0 at halftime of an eventual 33-14 victory.
"Obviously, the special talents of both those guys on display in that one play. Vernon, the speed, the ability to track a football, extend for a catch, balance of keeping and getting the feet in bounds," Harbaugh said. "There's many superlatives there. Colin, great accuracy and arm strength down the field, buying time, which he did a great deal in this ballgame, which was impressive on that play and others."