Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

The scene was perfectly set up for Christian McCaffrey’s 49ers debut. On a picturesque Sunday afternoon, with a game on tap against a recent Super Bowl foe, McCaffrey enjoyed a pregame conversation with Jerry Rice while donning the 49ers’ crisp throwback jersey. Does it get any better than that? 

Unfortunately for McCaffrey and the 49ers, the answer was no, at least on this Sunday. McCaffrey played well, especially in the first half while helping the home team keep it close. But McCaffrey’s impact was limited in the second half, one that was dominated by the Chiefs, who rolled to a 44-23 win. 

McCaffrey, who was acquired by the 49ers less than 72 hours prior to Sunday’s game, had six carries for 39 yards in the first half. He also had one catch for 13 yards while making key plays on two of the 49ers’ three first-half scoring drives. The former All-Pro had just two carries for -1 yards in the second half. He also caught his second pass as a 49er. 

Despite the outcome, it’s clear that McCaffrey will give the 49ers what they had hoped when they traded four picks to acquire him. McCaffrey, wearing No. 23, ripped off runs of 10 and 9 yards on the 49ers’ first offensive series. McCaffrey’s success on that drive led to a 49ers field goal. 

The 49ers rotated McCaffrey with fellow running backs Jeff Wilson and Tyrion Davis-Price. Price received each of the 49ers’ two carries on their second drive, which started on the Chiefs’ 34 following an interception by safety Talanoa Hufanga. McCaffrey had two big plays on the 49ers’ third drive, which ended with a 50-yard field goal by Robbie Gould that extended the 49ers’ lead to 13-7. McCaffrey had a 13-yard catch — his first as a 49ers — before recording a 12-yard run on the next play. 

McCaffrey toted the rock on the 49ers’ first play of the second half, being stopped for no gain. He didn’t touch the ball again on that drive despite the 49ers scoring a field goal and trimming their deficit to 21-16. 

He had his lone catch of the second half on the 49ers’ ensuing drive, which ended with Jimmy Garoppolo’s touchdown pass to George Kittle. But with the Chiefs scoring at will (Kansas City scored on its ensuing drive to make it a 35-23 game), the 49ers had to abandon the running game, which led to limited reps for their new star back. 

The trade didn’t help them win Sunday’s game, but 49ers fans can rest assured that the McCaffrey trade will indeed pay dividends this season. Prior to receiving pregame love from Rice, McCaffrey received support from Rice’s former quarterback, Joe Montana, who was and remains a fan of the 49ers’ decision to acquire him. 

This makes sense to bring [him] in,” Montana said, via NBC Sports. “I can’t say dual-threat, but pretty much a threat running the ball, catching the ball, probably a great addition for them.”





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