Two games into his San Francisco 49ers tenure, Christian McCaffrey is already making history.
McCaffrey had passing, rushing and receiving touchdowns in a brilliant second showing for San Francisco on Sunday in its 31-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
McCaffrey became the first NFL player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to pull off the rare touchdown trifecta. Since the 1970 merger, only McCaffrey, Tomlinson and the late, great Walter Payton (1979) have thrown, run and received TDs in the same game.
Two of McCaffrey’s three touchdowns came in the second half to lead San Francisco’s comeback from a four-point deficit to a 17-point rout. True to form, though, CMC was more concerned with having a victory to celebrate rather than an individual accomplishment to applaud.
“Obviously, those things are really cool,” McCaffrey said, via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “I think the biggest thing is coming out with a win and playing a second half like that, too. … But I’m just proud to be a 49er and it felt good to get a win today.”
In total, McCaffrey rushed 18 times for 94 yards, completed one pass in as many attempts for 34 yards and caught eight passes for 55 yards. He became the first player in the Super Bowl era with 30-plus yards passing, rushing, receiving and scores in each category, per NFL Research.
“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,” Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “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.”
McCaffrey, who the 49ers acquired via trade with the Carolina Panthers, threw his second career touchdown pass to open up San Francisco’s scoring. He hit wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard score in the second quarter, which led to a tie ballgame.
He later keyed the Niners’ second-half onslaught that turned the game for good.
McCaffrey hauled in a 9-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to take San Francisco’s first lead of the game in the third quarter. The score would stand as the game-winner, but CMC wasn’t done as he bowled in from a yard out to tally the rarest of NFL hat tricks.
To say McCaffrey has been a quick study in Shanahan’s offense would be an understatement. McCaffrey’s off to an emphatic start with his new squad, leading comeback victories and making history.