How 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey could be kryptonite for Chiefs defense

Eric Williams

NFC West Writer

On offense, the San Francisco 49ers go as Christian McCaffrey goes.

McCaffrey’s ability to create explosive plays in defining moments could be the difference if the Niners are to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Super Bowl LVIII.

“It’s hard to win consistently in this league if you can’t run the ball,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “No matter how good of a passing game you have, no matter how good of a defense, it doesn’t matter. 

“You can do it here and there and pull it off. But the most consistent way to win is to be balanced and to put pressure on everybody. We love being able to stick with the run game, so you make people defend it. Then, when people defend it, everything gets a little bit easier. If people can stop your run game without committing to it, everything’s a lot harder.”

McCaffrey leads his team this postseason in yards from scrimmage (299) and total touchdowns (4). The NFL rushing leader (1,459) and yards from scrimmage leader (2,023) during the regular season, McCaffrey has served as the engine of San Francisco’s offense. He accounted for 29% of San Francisco’s offense this season, second-most in the league to New York Jets running back Breece Hall (31%).

Since joining San Francisco during a midseason trade with the Carolina Panthers in October 2022, McCaffrey has totaled a league-best 3,792 scrimmage yards and 38 total touchdowns. The 49ers are 26-6 (including postseason) in games McCaffrey has played in since he joined the team.

But in the games the 49ers have lost with McCaffrey in the lineup, Shanahan has struggled to get him going in the running game, as he has averaged just 61 rushing yards a contest.

That included his first game in a San Francisco uniform, a 44-23 loss to Kansas City in which he played 23 snaps just days after joining the 49ers. 

“We didn’t plan on playing him at all,” Shanahan said about that game….


Source link : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/how-49ers-rb-christian-mccaffrey-could-be-kryptonite-for-chiefs-defense

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Publish date : 2024-02-05 22:38:28

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