49ers' Christian McCaffrey hits TD hat trick in breakout game vs. Rams

ByNick Wagoner ESPN logo
Sunday, October 30, 2022

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- New San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey made his presence felt in an unexpected way early in Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

On second-and-8 from the Rams' 34-yard line with 12:10 left in the second quarter, Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw to McCaffrey in the right flat. McCaffrey caught it behind the line of scrimmage and rolled to his right before looking deep down the right side for wideout Brandon Aiyuk.

McCaffrey lofted a pass with enough air under it for Aiyuk to haul it in for a touchdown. KickerRobbie Gould's extra point tied the game at 7-7.

The touchdown toss was the second of McCaffrey's NFL career and his first with the Niners. San Francisco pulled off a similar play in a Week 18 meeting against the Rams last year when Deebo Samuel threw a touchdown pass to wideout Jauan Jennings as the Niners came back to win and earn an NFC playoff berth.

McCaffrey added to his highlight reel late in the third quarter when he climbed the ladder in the right corner of the end zone to haul in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo. The score and extra point made it 17-14 Niners with 1:51 left in the third. The touchdown was the first one McCaffrey has scored as a Niner and puts him in some rare company in franchise history. McCaffrey and Emmanuel Sanders (Week 14 of 2019) are the only Niners to have a passing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game in the past 70 years.

McCaffrey didn't wait long to complete the hat trick after the Niners got a stop and the ball back. With 12:07 left in the game, McCaffrey scored on a 1-yard run set up by a 24-yard burst on the play before. With that touchdown, McCaffrey became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson with the San Diego Chargers in 2005 to throw for, run for and catch a touchdown in the same game. He's the fourth player since the 1970 merger to complete the trifecta.