San Francisco 49ers’ running back Christian McCaffrey was not nearly as productive as we have become accustomed to seeing on Sunday evening against the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers were able to pick up the victory in their Divisional Round matchup, but Christian McCaffrey was not very impactful.
Some credit should be given to the Cowboys’ defense, as they played at a high level throughout the game. They were able to hold Christian McCaffery to only 35 yards rushing on 10 attempts with a touchdown and he caught six passes for 22 yards.
The explosiveness and burst that was present against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Wild Card Weekend were not there for Christian McCaffrey this week. Against Seattle, he erupted for 119 yards on 150 carries, adding two receptions for 17 yards and a touchdown.
Could a nagging injury have played a part in his lack of effectiveness? According to JPA on Twitter, McCaffrey is dealing with and playing through a calf injury. That likely explains why his performance fell off from one week to the next.
This will be something to monitor throughout the week as the 49ers will almost assuredly limit Christian McCaffrey’s usage during practice. They will do everything in their power to ensure that he is as close to 100 percent healthy when they take the field against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game.
Luckily for the 49ers, they can at least turn to Elijah Mitchell to handle some of the backfield work. Mitchell struggled with injuries of his own this season, appearing in only five regular season games. But, when on the field, he was very productive, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan is certainly lucky that he can turn to a player of that caliber with Christian McCaffrey banged up. Teams are lucky enough to have one productive running back to count on; the 49ers have two that have proven they can get the job done when their number is called.