49ers’ Christian McCaffrey hurdles, runs through Cardinals in Arizona loss

Oct 1, 2023, 2:23 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

49ers running back Christian McCaffrey hurdles Cardinals rookie Kei'Trel Clark...

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at Levi's Stadium on October 01, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The guess here is that running back Christian McCaffrey is the No. 1 priority on scouting reports owned by the San Francisco 49ers’ opponents. For the Arizona Cardinals, it just didn’t matter how much attention was paid to the Niners star.

McCaffrey, who scored four touchdowns, piled up 93 total yards and three scores through the first two San Francisco possessions in Arizona’s Week 4 battle in the Bay Area to help the 49ers go ahead 21-3 early on.

Arizona’s offense pulled within 21-16 in the third thanks to a pair of consecutive touchdown grabs by rookie receiver Michael Wilson before the 49ers put their foot on the gas to win 35-16.

But before and after, it was all McCaffrey, who closed with 106 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. He made seven catches for 71 yards and a fourth touchdown through the air.

At halftime, McCaffrey already had 53 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns to go with four catches for 40 more yards and a receiving touchdown.

Eighteen of the yards on the ground came this way:

That would be McCaffrey anticipating Cardinals rookie cornerback Kei’Trel Clark’s attempt at taking out the running back’s legs.

McCaffrey hurdled Clark’s whiff and thanks to some downfield blocking by receiver Deebo Samuel and fullback Kyle Juszczyk weaved his way to the end zone for the second score of the day.

The Cardinals showed a little offensive life on the ensuing possession, with Joshua Dobbs rushing for a first down on fourth-and-7 and Matt Prater nailing a 38-yarder to make it 14-3, San Francisco, with 8:14 left in the first half.

Among the 49ers’ Arizona connections, quarterback Brock Purdy complemented McCaffrey with a 20-for-21 day for 283 yards and a rushing and passing touchdown, each.

Arizona State product and receiver Brandon Aiyuk had six catches for 148 yards, including a fingertip grab for 42 yards.

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