The San Francisco 49ers aren’t just proving that they’re arguably the best team in the NFL this season, their offense is putting together one of the best stretches of football in the team’s illustrious history.
It’s been clear through the first three games of the season that the murderers’ row of Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Juszczyk and Brock Purdy operating under Kyle Shanahan’s offensive schemes is a force to be reckoned with. But the historic reality of that offensive dominance really came through on Sunday during the Niners’ 35-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
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McCaffrey, for instance, scored the team’s first four touchdowns. That would be a jaw-dropping stat in it of itself, but it was the first touchdown that was the most important. The star running back broke Jerry Rice’s record of consecutive games with a touchdown. The Hall of Famer had a stretch of 12 straight games in 1987 where he scored at least one touchdown. McCaffrey set the new mark on Sunday at 13.
Purdy got close to history himself. The quarterback completed 21 consecutive passes going back to the end Week 3’s game against the Giants. Only Joe Montana had completed more consecutive throws in the team’s history, and that record was also set in 1987. The streak came to an end during the Niners’ first drive of the second half, but that incomplete throw to McCaffrey would end up becoming his lone miss on the day. Purdy finished 20-for-21 with 283 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.
The most obvious indication of how consistently dominant this offense has been through four weeks is the ongoing streak of 30-point performances that stretches back to last season. As ESPN’s Nick Wagoner noted, Sunday was the seventh straight regular season game with 30 or more points, which not even the golden era teams featuring Montana, Rice and Steve Young were able to accomplish. The team tied a record set in 1948, and could break it next week against their longtime rival: the Dallas Cowboys.
Even the players that didn’t break records still showed out in Sunday’s win. Aiyuk racked up 148 receiving yards, Kittle and Juszczyk were monsters in the trenches, and even a hobbled Deebo Samuel demanded the attention of Cardinals defenders on every snap. Simply put: There’s very little this offense can’t do.
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There is one major area where this current team falls short compared to those glory days of the past. This current iteration of the Niners don’t have a championship ring. That being said, continuously breaking records that the greatest players in this franchise’s history have set is not a bad approach to getting closer to that goal.
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