49ers running back Christian McCaffrey has been more than dominant during the season's first four weeks. This is why he's the team's MVP so far.
The last time the San Francisco 49ers had a start this good was, well, only four years ago. Lead by former Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco began the 2019 campaign going 8-0 before eventually taking its first loss.
But this 4-0 start hits differently.
The 49ers have been dominating their opponents, putting up a minimum of 30 points in each victory so far while holding the other teams to less than 25 points. Sure, there are things to improve on in many aspects, especially giving up a 99-yard touchdown drive against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. But, for the most part, all sides of the ball have been near perfect.
Much of the core from the 2019 team is still here in 2023. Some key departures like Garoppolo, wide receiver Emanuel Sanders and running back Raheem Mostert are gone. But over the course of the last few years, San Francisco added some game-changing arrivals like quarterback Brock Purdy.
However, there's been one major addition to this team who could be the MVP from last season, the NFC Championship game and into this year.
Running back Christian McCaffrey.
CMC has already matched his rushing touchdown total from his 11 games last season with San Francisco and could very well break his career high of 15, which he set in 2019. He's also averaging over 114 yards per game for 459 yards on the year.
Obviously, as the season drains on, the number will get lower and more spaced out with 17 games, but it's absurd the pace he's on so far.
On this score early in the game against Arizona, McCaffrey broke a record 49ers legend Jerry Rice had been holding since 1987: most consecutive games with a touchdown:
Assuming the scrpit continues to go according to plan, CMC could be setting the NFL record in just a few weeks.
McCaffrey changed the way this 49ers team operates. He makes every single player around him better. The offensive line, which had lots of issues the past few years, has seemingly figured out what works best. They create huge gaps for CMC to run through, but the vision he has to find what the O-line gives him also adds to his effectiveness.
We haven't seen a running back this dominate for quite a while. Sure, we lived during the Derrick Henry and LaDainian Tomlinson eras, but CMC is different. He's not as big as either of those men, but the drive and skillset just works for him and the Niners.
Being an MVP doesn't always mean putting up huge numbers, though it helps. It's how teams need to prepare each week for a specific player. Anyone facing the 49ers is at a disadvantage because if they stop the run, San Francisco can just go to the air with wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.
Even when McCaffrey was with the Carolina Panthers, you could see how teams would try to stop him and they couldn't. Now, he's on a team with Trent Williams on the offensive line, a quarterback who's taking care of the football with little to no turnovers and insane accuracy, and a coach who's willing to try new things because he can.
We'll check back in around the bye week to determine if CMC will continue to be the MVP, but it's safe to assume the answer will be yes.