Coach Kyle Shanahan hailed “awesome” Christian McCaffrey after the running back scored four touchdowns as the San Francisco 49ers extended their unbeaten start to the season with a 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
McCaffrey set a new franchise record by reaching the end zone for the 13th successive game, including the play-offs, as the 49ers moved to 4-0.
The 27-year-old is already being tipped to land the league’s MVP award with Shanahan believing his blistering form so far in 2023 is a continuation of the excellence he displayed last year following his trade from the Carolina Panthers.
“I’m not sure on the whole rest of the league right now but I thought he played like [an MVP] last year when he was here,”he said.
“Christian’s so awesome, he helps us win every time he’s out there, but when you’ve got a guy who can do everything, you can always have unbelievable stats, but he shares that with a lot of other guys and we do whatever it takes to win.”
McCaffrey’s chemistry with Brock Purdy was again in evidence against the Cardinals with the quarterback finishing 20-of-21 for 283 yards and a touchdown. He also added a rushing touchdown of his own.
“He was great,” Shanahan added. “He was almost perfect … hung in there, made some big throws.
“A lot of times, that defense, they don’t give you the big throws, so you kind of got to pick them apart. He was very efficient at doing that. And when he had his opportunities for the big ones, he saw it right and made the right throws and our guys came down with them.”
McCaffrey was equally effusive in his praise of Purdy.
“I think you can just go down the list of what makes a quarterback good and he checks every box,” he said.
“And then he has all the intangibles. He brings a kind of swagger and energy every day that is fun to be around. He’s quiet but he’s very confident. He expressed that in the way he plays.”