INGLEWOOD, Calif.—Christian McCaffrey caught Jimmy Garoppolo’s back pass, took a few steps, and threw a nice throw over the bewildered Los Angeles defense into the arms of Brandon Aiyuk.
And McCaffrey was just beginning to show the Rams what they missed when they lost it to the grateful San Francisco 49ers.
McCaffrey became the 11th player in NFL history with a rushing touchdown, passing touchdown and receiving touchdown in one game, and the 49ers extended their regular-season streak over the Rams to a full four years. with a 31-14 win over Los Angeles on Sunday.
McCaffrey threw that 34-yard touchdown pass in the first half. He caught a 9-yard TD pass from Garoppolo in the third quarter, then put the Niners (4-4) in control with a TD run early in the fourth. The running back finished with 94 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards in another brilliant all-around game highlighted by his second career throw.
“My two little brothers are quarterbacks, so I learned a lot from them,” McCaffrey said with a smile. “I used to always want to play quarterback just because it was the best position. … It also helps when someone is wide open.
The 49ers outsmarted the Rams (3-4) 10 days ago with a superior trade offer to acquire McCaffrey, who burned Los Angeles before and after those negotiations. He had 158 total yards for the Panthers in the Rams’ win over Carolina in Los Angeles’ final game before their bye.
“He’s playing our style, and he’s only going to get better,” 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said of McCaffrey.
LaDainian Tomlinson was the last player to rush, pass and receive touchdowns in the same game, doing so for San Diego in 2005. Only four players have done so since 1970.
“It’s awesome,” McCaffrey said of his historic achievement. “Obviously these things are really cool. I think the most important thing is to get a win and play the second half like that too. I think what I’m most happy about is that this whole team welcomes me with open arms.
Garoppolo passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns as San Francisco scored 24 unanswered points to complete its eighth straight regular-season win over rivals NFC West. McCaffrey last threw a TD pass for Carolina in 2018, and Niners coach Kyle Shanahan decided to try again in just his second game with his new point guard.
“It’s a play that a lot of people make,” Shanahan said of McCaffrey’s TD throw. “What makes it work is that Christian is so good at (pretending) to run on this play. … I remember Thursday night, when we were doing the red zone (game planning), I yelled, ‘Does anyone know if Christian can throw?’ »
After leading 14-10 at halftime, the 49ers regained the lead late in the third quarter with an 88-yard drive capped off by McCaffrey’s crafty TD on the sideline. McCaffrey then made a 24-yard run followed by a 1-yard score with 12:07 to play.
George Kittle caught a late TD to seal the Niners’ final humiliation against the Rams despite the injury absence of star Deebo Samuel, who kicked a TD pass against the Rams at SoFi Stadium last season.
San Francisco’s defense held the Rams to 68 yards in the second half, and the Niners’ stars continued their tradition of scuffling after beating LA.
“I was a little surprised when they gave up a little early, maybe there were six or seven minutes left and they kicked the ball on the third down,” Bosa said. “I was hoping there would be some more pass rushes there, but I guess they didn’t have the confidence to come back.”
Los Angeles narrowly beat San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium exactly nine months ago, but the Niners have won every other meeting since 2018.
“They outplayed us,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It has nothing to do with the whole story, whatever it is. They overpowered us in the second half. We didn’t make enough plays, and there are things we can all collectively to make a better part of it.
Matthew Stafford passed for 187 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown since 2016 for the defending Super Bowl champion Rams (3-4), who are under .500 for the third time — all of them this season — in the McVay’s career. Los Angeles was shut out in the second half of three home losses this season.
“It was a great first half,” Stafford said. “Well done. I just didn’t do enough in the second half to give us a chance.