Niner’s RB Christian McCaffrey scores rare touchdown hat-trick in comeback win

Two games into his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers, Christian McCaffrey is already making history.

McCaffrey had received passing, rushing and touchdowns in a brilliant second performance for San Francisco in Sunday’s 31-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

McCaffrey became the first NFL player to achieve the rare touchdown trifecta since LaDainian Tomlinson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Since the 1970 merger, only McCaffrey, Tomlinson, and the late, great Walter Payton (1979) have thrown, run, and received TDs in the same game.

Two of McCaffrey’s three touchdowns came in the second half to take San Francisco’s comeback from a four-point deficit to a 17-point loss. True to form, however, CMC were more interested in celebrating a win than an individual performance to applaud.

“Obviously these things are really cool,” McCaffrey said of ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “I think the biggest thing is to come out with a win and play a second half like that too. … But I’m just proud to be a 49er and it felt good to get a win today.”

Overall, McCaffrey rushed 18 times for 94 yards, completed one pass in as many attempts for 34 yards, and caught eight passes for 55 yards. According to NFL Research, he was the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 30+ yards in passing, rushing, receiving and scoring in each category.

“I think everyone knows what a good player he is, but I just love how consistent he is and how in control he is,” said Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan. “He’s a very smart player and makes a lot of plays and stuff, but it’s the consistency of how he plays his game. I think he was a great guy to add for ourselves.”

McCaffrey, who the 49ers acquired through a trade from the Carolina Panthers, threw his second career touchdown pass to open San Francisco’s goal. He hit wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 34-yard score in the second quarter, resulting in a tie.

He later hit the Niners’ attack in the second half that turned the game for good.

McCaffrey pulled in a 9-yard pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to take San Francisco’s first lead of the game in the third quarter. The result would be considered a game winner, but CMC wasn’t done yet as he rolled in from a yard to score the rarest NFL hat trick.

To say McCaffrey was a quick study into Shanahan’s offense would be an understatement. McCaffrey is off to an emphatic start with his new roster, leading comeback wins and making history.

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