Christian McCaffrey Makes 49ers History In First Start

Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Christian McCaffrey of the San Francisco 49ers.

When the San Francisco 49ers traded three 2023 draft picks and another draft pick in 2024 for Christian McCaffrey, folks wondered how the pairing would work. Sure, McCaffrey seemed like a perfect fit for the sort of offense Kyle Shanahan likes to run, as the All-Pro back is one of just three players in NFL history to record 1,000 rush and receiving yards in a single season, but at 26 with a documented history of injuries, some wondered if the short-term reward was worth the long-term risk.

Fortunately for John Lynch and company, McCaffrey did a darn good job of silencing any doubts about his continued ability to be a transcendent force, as the Stanford product did a little bit of everything in his first road game with the Niners. Earning his first start with the team, McCaffrey rushed the ball 18 times for 94 yards plus a rushing touchdown, caught eight of the nine balls thrown his way for 55 yards plus a receiving touchdown, and even got involved in the passing game, as he caught a lateral pass from Jimmy Garoppolo and chucked it down the field on a flea flicker to Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard touchdown.

For fantasy football players, McCaffrey was electrifying, as he put up 40.26 points, according to, but his efforts were just as notable for fans of football history, as McCaffrey became just the fourth player since the NFL-AFL merger and the first 49er to ever throw, catch, and run for a touchdown in a single game, according to AM 590 ESPN Omaha.

Kyle Shanahan Explains His Flea Flicker Call

Speaking with the media after the 49ers’ 31-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Shanahan was asked where the idea of McCaffrey throwing the ball came from, and his response should put a smile on the faces of Niners fans.

“It’s a play a lot of people do,” Shanahan said. “What makes it work is Christian is so good at running on that play. I remember Thursday night when we were doing the red zone, me yelling down to the rooms, ‘does anyone know if Christian can throw?’ and then Brian Fleury emailed a video of him throwing a 53-yarder a few years ago, so when I saw that, I felt he could throw and we were up there in practice the next day and he did throw it good then, and he threw it great today.”

Asked to elaborate on what he thought of McCaffrey’s footwork and cadence on the play, Shanahan laughed off the question

“There is no footwork on that play, ”Shanahan said. “You attack like you’re going to run so they come up, and then you have to get it up and down to avoid that guy hitting ya.”

Fortunately for the Niners, McCaffrey did avoid the hit before airing the ball out, and Shanahan was able to even up the score at 7-7 as a result.

Christian McCaffrey’s Still Hungry After 1st San Francisco 49ers Win

When told about his historic accomplishment after the game by reporters, McCaffrey reflected on his big day, as transcribed by Bally Sports.

“That’s awesome,” McCaffrey said of his historic achievement. “Obviously, those things are really cool. I think the biggest thing is coming out with a win and playing the second half like that, too. I think the thing I’m most happy about is just this whole team welcoming me in with open arms.”

Fortunately, McCaffrey isn’t just looking to rest on his laurels and is still trying to clean his plate whenever he’s on the field.

“I think there’s still a lot of meat on the bone that I left out there, so I think really understanding what we’re trying to accomplish as an offense (is key), “McCaffrey said. “You know, Kyle’s run game and pass game is so specific, so for me, it’s all about really trying to understand what we’re trying to do with the play and helping (to) set up blocks and finishing plays down the field.

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