49ers game balls: Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy set records against Cardinals

The 49ers performance on Sunday wasn’t perfect, but it was close.

San Francisco beat the Arizona Cardinals 35-16 at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday to improve to 4-0. The win allowed the 49ers to keep pace with Philadelphia in the race for the NFC’s top seed.

After seeing their team jump out to a quick 21-3 lead, a nervous chatter fell over the 49er Faithful on hand when Arizona went 99-yards to narrow the lead to five in the third quarter.

It turns out the 49ers were just toying with the Cardinals. San Francisco responded with a pair of long touchdown drives to put the game away on a record-breaking day for a pair of their offensive stars.

Let’s hand out some game balls.

Game Ball 1: Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey set the tone for the 49ers offense on the first possession of the day. The running back touched the ball on six of eight plays as they went 62 yards. McCaffrey caught two passes on the drive for 22 yards and ran the ball four times for 14 yards including a one yard touchdown.

McCaffrey touched the ball on 27 of the 49ers 55 offensive plays. He finished with 20 carries for 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and seven receptions for 71 yards and another touchdown. McCaffrey became one of four players in the Super Bowl era to run for 70 or more yards, three or more rushing touchdowns, 70 or more receiving yards and at least one touchdown in a game.

The accomplishments for McCaffrey don’t end there. His first touchdown yesterday extended his streak of games with at least one score to 13 in a row. This broke the franchise record of 12 previously held by Jerry Rice.

Game Ball 2: Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy completed 20 of his 21 pass attempts for 283 yards and a touchdown. His 95.2 completion percentage broke the franchise record (minimum of 20 attempts) of 90 set by Steve Young in 1991. It was also the fourth highest single-game completion percentage in NFL history.

In the first half Purdy completed all 10 of his attempts. This marked the first time since Young in 1994, that a 49ers quarterback completed at least 10 consecutive throws a half.

Purdy also silenced his critics who this offseason questioned his ability to throw deep when he hit Brandon Aiyuk deep down the middle for a gain of 42 yards. According to Next Gen Stats, Purdy’s throw travelled 46.8 yards in the air, the longest completed pass by air yards of his career.

Game Ball 3: Brandon Aiyuk

Brandon Aiyuk made quite a splash in his return to the lineup after missing last week’s game against the New York Giants.

Aiyuk recorded six catches for a career-high 148 yards, his second game this season with 100 or more receiving yards.

It is clear Aiyuk and Purdy are on the same page. The two connected on four explosive plays against Arizona of 42, 34, 25 and 20 yards.

Game Ball 4: Dre Greenlaw

Stopping Cardinals running back James Conner was job one for the 49ers defense. Greenlaw set the tone right from the start. On Conner’s first rushing attempt Greenlaw dropped him after a gain of just two yards.

The linebacker was all over the field during the first two Arizona possessions. He played a zone read nearly perfectly, getting into position to drop Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs after just a short gain. A few plays later he stopped tight end Zach Ertz for no gain on third down to force an Arizona punt.

He finished with 10 tackles, including eight solo tackles.

One of Greenlaw’s better plays won’t show up in the stat sheet. In the fourth quarter he quickly read a run around the right side by Dobbs. The linebacker’s quick reaction forced a holding penalty by Cardinals tight end Trey McBride. This wiped out a big gain and helped the 49ers to force a Cardinals punt.

Game Ball 5: Fred Warner

Warner matched Greenlaw’s performance with 10 tackles including eight solo tackles. The All-Pro linebacker was solid throughout the game. He played a big role in keeping James Conner under wraps early as the 49ers built an 18-point lead.

This article has 21 Comments

  1. After a game like that there has to be at least one O lineman worthy of a game ball. You could give Williams a GB almost every game but I will go for the less obvious choice, I didn’t notice Spencer Burford all game and when you don’t notice a O lineman it usually means he did a good/great job. So my game ball goes to S. Burford.

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    1. OC
      It would seem Connor was butt hurt and got emotional about the loss? I’d guess Connor will be paying a
      fine for his actions? It looked like he grabbed Hufanga by the face and pushed him?
      * This may be the reason: Hufanga recorded five total tackles in the game, including a big hit on Conner that kept the Cardinals running back shy of the end zone on a two-point attempt late in the third quarter?

  2. Agree with Coach. I think generally our OL did okay in this game. One sack recorded is not much. Banks and Burford seem sufficient. Mckevitt’s name was not called on pass protection so perhaps he is holding up.

    I hope that Mason will pick up his running averages. I realize he has not had many chances. I hope Mitchell is back for Dallas, reputed to be a great defense.

    One final thing: it is true that the Niners paid a heavy price for the Trey Lance mistake. It is ultimately inexplicable to pay so much for so little. Still, let it now be said: NONE of the drafted QBs the year Trey was drafted have been more than about average and some have been less than that. Mac Jones was not the success many thought he would be. Kyle had the good sense of seeing through that hype. If Purdy continues to excel, we have the vaunted franchise QB we all wanted in Trey.

      1. Yeah. Hard to miss. My heart skipped a beat because it looked a lot like the play that took out Purdy’s elbow. I’m encouraged though because the league champion at look out blocks, is another Mc? who now plays for the Broncos. Let’s hope that that was just a one off for McK.

  3. Jack, How about ‘ Hands down ‘ for the players that make a play happen with their blocks or decoys? Juice had some great blocks to make things happen for CMC. Kittle, Deebo opened lanes for Aiyuk etc.
    Maybe after reviewing the tape you can reveal some ‘hidden gems’ !

  4. 9ers new DC, Wilks learning curve:
    The first thing Wilks needs to learn is……Leave Ambry Thomas on the bench!
    After Wilks replaced Isaiah Oliver with Ambry Thomas, Thomas allowed a 33 yard completion to Arizona’s Michael Thomas on a deep throw down the left sideline. On the next play he was too shallow, and Michael Thomas caught a 16 yard touchdown!
    NOTE: Isaiah Oliver played the rest of the game at NB

    1. Geep,
      Any idea when Womacks comes off of the IR? Hopefully either Womack, Brown or Luter can step up and be a starting level CB. If they don’t want to sit around and wait to see who develops they could offer Den. a 1st and a 2nd for P. Surtain it would be a steal.

      1. agree..I strongly support this trade. When you think how many first-rounders never pan out, getting a sure thing is the way to go.

  5. OC
    The last news on Womack I know of was when Shanahan said, “sometime this year.” He added, “the injury doesn’t require surgery, so Womack could potentially be back within six to eight weeks.”
    NOTE: I believe Womack suffered the MCL injury mid Sept (14th – 16th)? Speaking to reporters on Friday, Shanahan said that Womack suffered an MCL and should mean Woman will return after the Niners’ Week 9 bye?

    1. OC
      RE: Brown and Luter
      After passing on veteran Bradley Roby, the 49ers must feel Brown is healed from his achilles injury after signing him to the active roster.
      My understanding is Luter was put on the PUP list Aug 30tgh, but should be available for the Dallas game?

      RE: ” P. Surtain it would be a steal.” Yea, I agree! But I haven’t heard anything about Denver shopping him? While they may decide to trade him before the trade deadline, I suspect there would be a bidding war for him? I suspect a 2024 1st and 2nd round pick would only be a starting bid? Denver would likely ask for, and get, an additional 2025 1st Rd draft pick, as there would likely be as many as 10 other NFL teams trying to sign the best, or one of the best, CB in the NFL?
      NOTE: The Jaguars traded the disgruntled CB, Jalen Ramsey, to the L A Rams for 2 1st Rd draft picks (2020 and 2021) and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

  6. Not sure why you feel that the Niners contained James Connor? He averaged 4.7 ypc. Felt like the Arizona run game was doing damage, but because the Niners got out to a big lead Arizona had to abandon it. 52 yards for Conner seems low, but again, it was only low because of his paltry 11 attempts. So much was said about the Niners pass defense, I wasn’t impressed with any part of the Niners defense yesterday. They will need to do better against a far more talented Dallas offense.

    1. Some people are just never happy. The Niners are 4-0 with the best roster in football and some only look for perceived negatives. Sad.

      1. Felix
        My old football coach used to grab my face mask and yell at me…..If you’re not getting better every time you put the pads on, then you need to go find something else to waste your time on! (He was NEVER HAPPY!)
        WHY? Because your competition is busting their butts to replace you! So NO, being “HAPPY” means you’re wasting your time and falling behind.
        As for the 9ers being 4 – 0…..We’ll see how that 4 – 0 measures up against Dallas this Sunday! I’m hoping the
        9ers are NOT HAPPY being 4- 0……Not when busting their butts will get them to 5 – 0?

        1. I was referring to a fan being unhappy and looking to critique every little perceived fault. Fans should enjoy the game. That has nothing to do with how a coach manages players. I never played football but I play basketball. I would not have stood for being bullied and treated the way your coach did. I would guess your team wasn’t very good.

      2. Felix
        My old football coach used to grab my face mask and yell at me, “If you’re not getting better every time you put the pads on, then you need to go find something else to waste your time on!” (He was NEVER HAPPY!)
        WHY? Because your competition is busting their butts to replace you! So NO, being “HAPPY” means you’re wasting your time and falling behind.
        As for the 9ers being 4 – 0…..We’ll see how that 4 – 0 measures up against Dallas this Sunday! I’m hoping the
        9ers are NOT HAPPY being 4- 0……Not when busting their butts will get them to 5 – 0?

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