Christian McCaffrey ultimately saved 49ers season and more

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

While it’s a bit of hyperbole to say Christian McCaffrey is the biggest get for the 49ers ever, there’s little doubt he turned the Niners’ season around.

Trailing 14-10 at halftime in what was essentially a must-win road game against the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers desperately needed someone to take over the game and more.

A year ago, this would have been asked of wide receiver Deebo Samuel. However, due to a hamstring injury, Samuel wasn’t available for Week 8 and was watching from the sidelines.

Instead, all the Niners needed was for their new and shiny midseason addition, All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, to have his own “do it all” performance where he’d take over a game.

Three touchdowns later — a rushing one, a receiving one and even a passing one — it’s safe to say McCaffrey delivered.

Yes, the cost San Francisco spent to get McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers was expensive. However, in one game that could have seen the 49ers fall to an abysmal 3-5 or climb back to 4-4, this awe-inspiring performance essentially turned the Niners’ season around.

Both in terms of on-field production and the momentum needed to carry head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad beyond the bye week and through the second half.

Sure, San Francisco overcame a 3-5 start a season ago. But it took some tremendous desperation and a good deal of luck for the 49ers to get into the playoffs before managing to work up to the NFC Championship game where those same Rams ultimately pulled off a rare victory over Shanahan and Co.

Perhaps McCaffrey will be the difference now, but it’s a lot better trying again with a 4-4 record in the book than a 3-5 one.

Let’s take note of some other Niners news from around the league.

49ers news from FanSided network

Christian McCaffrey dominates for 49ers, Stacking the Box — Matt Verderame, FanSided

"While the three scores are going to capture most people’s attention, McCaffrey’s presence was felt in myriad ways.Against the Rams, the Niners converted 5-of-9 third downs. McCaffrey was responsible for two of the conversions. On first down, McCaffrey touched the ball 16 times and averaged 5.6 yards, setting up manageable and ideal play-action situations for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.To that point, it’s no coincidence Garoppolo enjoyed the most efficient day of his season, completing 21-of-25 passes for 235 yards (9.4 YPA) and two touchdowns with zero turnovers."

Week 9 NFL power rankings — Russell Baxter, FanSided

Last rank: 19th, This rank: 13th

"Kyle Shanahan’s club was looking to sweep the Rams during the regular season for the fourth consecutive year. The 49ers spotted Los Angeles a 7-0 lead and then it turned into the Christian McCaffrey Show.He would throw a 34-yard TD pass to Brandon Aiyuk, total 18 carries for 94 yards and one score and caught eight passes for 85 yards and another touchdown. Down 14-7 in the second quarter, the Niners scored the final 24 points of the game."

Would Odell Beckham prefer 49ers over Rams? — Peter Panacy, Niner Noise

"Should Beckham join the Niners, he’d be a third-fiddle player behind Samuel and Aiyuk, and that doesn’t even include McCaffrey’s own pass-catching prowess.However, at least based on how San Francisco handled Los Angeles in Week 8 to the tune of a 31-14 victory, Beckham could easily have a better shot at winning another Super Bowl with the 49ers instead of the Rams."

49ers news from around the NFL

Christian McCaffrey’s Historic Day, MMQB Week 8 — Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated

"The well-documented history between the Shanahans and the McCaffreys made it so there were never going to be many surprises after Kyle acquired Christian—even if his ability to get himself up to speed was eye-opening. By now, you’ve probably heard that the coach, as a teenager, used to babysit his new tailback, and that Kyle looked up to, and modeled himself after, Ed as a Broncos ball boy and aspiring high school receiver, to the point where he wore No. 87 in college in tribute to him."

Former 49ers executive, John McVay dies at age 91 — ESPN

"John McVay, the executive who helped launch the San Francisco 49ers’ dynasty and grandfather of Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, has died. He was 91.The 49ers announced Tuesday that McVay had died."

John Lynch says Mike McDaniel assured Dolphins would ‘take good care’ of Jeff Wilson Jr. — David Bonilla, 49ers Webzone

"“One of the things Mike [McDaniel] wanted to share is he knows how special Jeff is to us,” Lynch said. “He wanted to assure us that he’d take good care of him. Mike’s a great dude. And part of this is you have to make great decisions for your team, but you also try to take care of guys that take care of you.”“I’m not saying that Jeff demanded to be traded or anything, but I think, given the situation, if we could find the right situation for him … he wanted that opportunity.”"

Is the bye coming at a good or bad time for the 49ers? — Rob Guerrera , Niners Nation

"History is not much of an indicator as to how the Niners will look in two weeks against the Chargers. Kyle Shanahan is 2-3 after the bye in his career. Yesterday he acknowledged that while it might be frustrating to have to take a week off after that kind of offensive performance, it’s probably best for the team as a whole."