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.