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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Robert Zeglinski

Christian McCaffrey did it all for a 49ers team forced into playing its 4th-string QB

For a time during Sunday afternoon’s NFC title game, the San Francisco 49ers looked dead in the water. After the journeyman underdog story in Brock Purdy would fumble the ball early (and get injured in the process) — drawing comparisons to a “new Tom Brady” — it seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles would be unopposed in notching a berth in Super Bowl 57.

But the NFL’s best defense and, perhaps more importantly, one of the NFL’s best running backs, Christian McCaffrey, got San Francisco up off the mat.

McCaffrey’s Herculean efforts to keep a team playing fourth-stringer Josh Johnson at QB were best exemplified on a late second-quarter TD run.

By my count, that’s four individual Eagles’ defenders humiliated on one ridiculous 23-yard score to tie the game up (at the time). But such brilliance is probably for the course with a star player like McCaffrey.

By the end of the first half, not only had McCaffrey almost hit the over on a pregame over/under of 62.5 rushing yards, he had 73 yards from scrimmage on nine touches. Or, you know, eight yards per touch (along with his one touchdown). Ho-hum!

For a squad that would likely be offensively challenged without its usual QB, the 49ers needed tremendous output like McCaffrey’s to stay alive. Whether they could finish a comeback from 21-7 down is a different story, but your best players have to play like heroes to have a shot.

NFL fans were astonished by Christian McCaffrey carrying the 49ers while on their fourth-string QB

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