Christian McCaffrey breaks Jerry' Rice's 49ers record while scoring 3 first-half TDs against Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) celebrates after scoring against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Fifteen games into his career in San Francisco, Christian McCaffrey is already among the 49ers greats.

The All-Pro running back opened up Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with a one-yard touchdown run to give San Francisco an early 7-0 lead.

The score marked the 13th straight game including the playoffs that McCaffrey’s scored a touchdown in a 49ers uniform. That breaks an all-time franchise record that was previously held by none other than Jerry Rice, the Hall of Fame receiver whose best scoring stretch consisted of 12 straight games, a mark that had stood since 1987. That’s pretty good company.

McCaffrey celebrated the achievement by tacking on another score on San Francisco’s next possession. On first-and-10 from Arizona’s 18-yard line, quarterback Brock Purdy looked to McCaffrey on a swing pass in the backfield. McCaffrey did the work from there, eluding Cardinals defenders while following his blockers to the end zone to secure a 14-0 49ers edge.

And he wasn’t done. McCaffrey added a third touchdown on San Francisco’s third possession, this one on a pass from Purdy from the six-yard line.

To date, that’s 16 touchdowns in his last 13 games and 19 touchdowns in 18 games since McCaffrey joined the 49ers via trade from the Carolina Panthers last season. He’s the anchor of one of the NFL’s best offenses on a team that entered Sunday 3-0 and took a 21-10 first-half lead thanks to his early scoring binge.

One of the biggest trades in recent NFL memory is paying serious dividends in San Francisco.

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