- The San Francisco 49ers traded for superstar running back Christian McCaffrey less than two weeks ago.
- On Sunday against the Rams, McCaffrey became just the fourth player since 1970 to rush, catch, and throw for a touchdown in a single game.
- The 49ers have long been known to get the most out of their players, regardless of their traditional position, and now they’re working to get everything they can out of McCaffrey.
Two weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers signaled to the rest of the NFL that they are gunning for the title this year when they traded for superstar running back Christian McCaffrey.
On Sunday against the Rams, McCaffrey showed that the 49ers’ investment was a good one, working within the San Francisco offense to score three touchdowns on the day — one passing, one receiving, and one rushing.
McCaffrey’s first touchdown was also his most unlikely — a 34-yard passing touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk that came with a bit of trickery by the San Francisco offense.
After taking a backwards pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the flat, McCaffrey reared back his arm and lobbed a dime to Aiyuk, who was streaking wide open into the end zone.
—NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
After halftime, McCaffrey scored his second touchdown, this time serving as a release valve for Garoppolo. As the pocket began to collapse, McCaffrey was standing in the flat. When he saw Rams cornerback Nick Scott bite a step forward, McCaffrey took off into the end zone, giving Garoppolo just enough space to drop in a dime.
—NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2022
With the score, the 49ers took a lead that they would not give up the rest of the day.
After forcing a three-and-out from the Rams, San Francisco drove the field again to set up McCaffrey’s final score of the day — a one-yard touchdown run.
—FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 30, 2022
McCaffrey is just the 11th player in NFL history to complete the touchdown trifecta, joining LaDainian Tomlinson, David Patten, and Walter Payton as one of just four players to have accomplished the feat since the NFL merger in 1970.
Despite the rarity of the touchdown trifecta, it’s not exactly shocking that this player, on this team, could pull it off. McCaffrey is a pocket knife of football talent, and the 49ers of the Kyle Shanahan era have made a name for themselves getting the most out of their skill position players regardless of their listed position.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was a first-team All-Pro last year not just because he’s a brilliant receiver, but because he was also the 49ers biggest threat out of the backfield. Shanahan and company love to set their talent up for success, and with Samuel out on Sunday, it was only fitting for McCaffrey to be the one moving around a bit.
“I think everyone knows how good of a player he is, but I just like how consistent he is and under control in what he does,” Shanahan said of McCaffrey after the game. “He’s a very smart player, and he makes a lot of plays and stuff, but it’s the consistency of how he plays his game. I feel like he was a great guy to add for us.”
With the win, the 49ers are now 4-4 heading into their bye week. While they are a game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West as things stand, they hold a 3-0 divisional record, giving themselves an edge is any tiebreaker scenario going forward.
The Super Bowl is a long way off, but the 49ers already showed the rest of the NFL their intention to get there when they traded for McCaffrey. Given the success they found with McCaffrey on Sunday, it wouldn’t shock anyone if they got there.