When the San Francisco 49ers traded for running back Christian McCaffrey midway through last season, he transformed them from a middling offensive team to one that is very potent on that side of the football.
McCaffrey is a workhorse on the ground, and he contributed 746 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in 11 games with the 49ers in 2022. So far this season, he is leading everyone in the NFL, by far, with 268 yards on the ground through two games.
But what makes him truly special is the fact that he’s a true dual-threat tailback. He has six receptions for 36 yards on the new season, and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield or even line up as a makeshift wide receiver has made him truly invaluable to San Francisco.
For his career, McCaffrey has 448 receptions, which ranks 25th all-time among running backs. With 45 more, he will surpass the legendary Walter Payton, who is 17th on the list.
McCaffrey is just one of three players who has ever had 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season. He accomplished that feat during the 2019 season, and the only other players to do so were Marshall Faulk and former Niners star Roger Craig.
Craig finished his career with 566 catches, while Faulk, who won a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams during the 1999 campaign, has more receptions than any other running back with 767.
At age 27, Christian McCaffrey may have a shot at challenging Faulk’s record if he stays healthy. But it is a safe bet that he would rather earn a Vince Lombardi Trophy or two instead.
He is certainly on a team that could help him accomplish the latter goal. San Francisco is 2-0 to start the season, and while it isn’t playing at its peak potential yet, it is showing signs of being downright scary moving forward.