The outburst came from head coach Kyle Shanahan’s office while the San Francisco 49ers were Thursday night working on their red zone strategy.
Shanahan asked the empty room whether his new star running back Christian McCaffrey could toss the football. There was a moment of stillness after Shanahan asked the inquiry, but then tight ends coach Brian Fleury texted him an answer.
Mccaffrey’s 50-Yard Touchdown Throw Against The Saints Was Linked
The link took readers to a video of McCaffrey throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints on December 17, 2018. After getting a satisfactory response from Fleury, Shanahan included a McCaffrey pass into the game plan for Sunday’s 31-14 win against the Los Angeles Rams.
For all Shanahan knew, the play would become synonymous with an unforgettable moment in McCaffrey’s career.
Since the Niners were without multi-threat receiver Deebo Samuel, McCaffrey provided the team with the most versatile performance by throwing for, running for, and catching a touchdown to help the team improve to 4-4 before their bye week.
Even though “everyone knows how outstanding a player he is,” Shanahan praised the quarterback for his “consistency” and “under control” in his performance.
I think he was a terrific addition to us because he is a clever player who makes a lot of plays and things consistently.
McCaffrey became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to pass for, run for, and catch a touchdown in the same game with his 1-yard running touchdown in the fourth quarter.
He joins Tomlinson, wide receiver David Patten, and running back Walter Payton as the only players to accomplish this feat since the 1970 merger.
It’s McCaffrey’s first taste of the rivalry, but it’s the Niners’ ninth consecutive regular-season triumph over the Rams. He contributed to 183 total yards of offense (94 running, 55 receiving) in 27 total touches and slotted right in.
The soft-spoken McCaffrey wasn’t too bothered about how he played after the game, and he certainly didn’t mention it.
Those Things Are Fantastic, Without A Question
Amazing,” McCaffrey said. “Those items are, without a doubt, fantastic. Win or lose, I believe the most important thing is to play as well in the second half as we did in the first… But I’m simply glad we came out on top today and pleased to wear the 49ers jersey.”
With his second touchdown throw ever, McCaffrey got the Niners off to a good start. With 12:10 remaining in the second quarter, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw to McCaffrey in the right flat on a second-and-8 from the Rams’ 34.
McCaffrey got his hands on it behind the line of scrimmage, rolled to his right, and then sent a deep right-side look for wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Robbie Gould’s extra point and a touchdown throw from McCaffrey to Aiyuk, who made many turns to bring in the ball, brought the score to 7-7.
A dot, as tight end George Kittle put it. “Perfect. That pass was extremely awesome. It was a fantastic catch, by the way.”
The touchdown reception by McCaffrey was, without a doubt, his best performance of the game. From the Rams’ 9-yard line, Garoppolo dropped back to throw with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. When Garoppolo saw no open players during the Niners’ scramble drill, the quarterback climbed higher in the pocket.
Mccaffrey Was The Sixth Thrower
The throwing process had McCaffrey as the fifth option, and he took off down the right sideline. Taking a 17-14 lead, the Niners were able to hold on thanks to a touchdown catch by McCaffrey off of a Garoppolo pass.
By scoring his first touchdown for the Niners, McCaffrey joined an exclusive group of players. In the previous seven decades, only Christian McCaffrey and Emmanuel Sanders (2019, Game 14) have scored a throwing touchdown and a receiving touchdown for the Niners in the same game.
“I read it from left to right,” Garoppolo said. “He turned it upfield; that’s what football players do; it wasn’t how it was planned; he simply made a play.”
It was in McCaffrey’s second game with the Niners, after a full week of practice, that he broke out. On October 20th, the 49ers sent the Panthers their second, third, and fourth-round selections in 2023, as well as their fifth-round pick in 2024, in exchange for running back Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey has been spending long hours at the Niners’ facilities working with assistant coaches Bobby Turner and Anthony Lynn and sneaking extra time with Garoppolo whenever possible to come up to speed fast.
McCaffrey’s touchdown trifecta made him the only player in the Super Bowl era to record at least one of each kind of offensive score and 30 or more yards passing, running, or receiving in a game.
The Niners were also encouraged by McCaffrey’s performances because it made them excited for what may happen after important players like Samuel and wide receiver Jauan Jennings recovered from hamstring problems.
Based on the current roster, “with all those skill positions, there isn’t a ceiling, really,” Kittle said. A lot of points ought to be in the bag for us if we go out there.