BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Christian McCaffrey scored four touchdowns and Brock Purdy completed all but one of his passes as the 49ers remained unbeaten with a 35-16 win over the improved Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium Sunday afternoon.
McCaffrey broke Jerry Rice’s All-Time franchise record with a touchdown in his 13th straight game, including the postseason, with a one yard run to cap an 82 yard drive on the Niners first possession as San Francisco improved to 4-0, joining the Philadelphia Eagles as the only remaining undefeated teams in the NFL.
Purdy meanwhile, continued to add to his own legend, finishing 20-21 for 283 yards and a touchdown to set the 49ers highest single-game completion percentage in franchise history. It was his fourth game in a row without an interception to open the season, a stretch of 112 passes.
Jokingly asked about Purdy’s one incompletion and what he could do better after the game, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan deadpanned, “That’s why we punted on that one drive, I’m just joking. That was a third-and-20 something anyways, but he was great. Made some big throws. A lot of times that defense is real, they don’t give you the big throws so you kind of got to pick them apart and he was very efficient at doing that.”
McCaffrey didn’t waste any time on San Francisco’s second possession, taking a Purdy hand off 18 yards down the right sideline to put the Niners up 14-0. A 13 play Arizona drive resulting in a field goal cut the score to 14-3, but Purdy quickly found the former Stanford star for a six yard touchdown pass for his third score of the day.
Arizona showed grit by bouncing back with another 13 play drive culminating in a 16 yard touchdown pass from Joshua Hobbs to Stanford product Michael Wilson to narrow the score to 21-10 at halftime, and an eight yard scoring pass from Dobbs to Wilson cut San Francisco’s lead to 21-16 midway thru the third quarter.
But the 49ers quickly bounced back, with Purdy finding Brandon Aiyuk for a 34 yard gain to start the next drive seven plays before McCaffrey scored his fourth touchdown on a two yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter. A one yard run by Purdy at the two minute warning culminated a seven minute, 14 play drive for the games final score.
McCaffrey finished with 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in addition to seven receptions for 71 yards and another score thru the air. Aiyuk totaled a career high 148 yards on six catches.
The much improved Dobbs was 28-41 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. James Connor led the Cardinals with 11 rushes for 42 yards while Marquise Brown had seven receptions for 96 yards and the rookie Wilson had seven catches for 76 yards and the two scores.
San Francisco will next suit up on October 8th for a playoff rematch against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.
McCaffrey’s 13 game touchdown streak is tied with Emmitt Smith and Arian Foster for the second longest in the NFL since 1990, trailing only Smith’s 14 game streak during the 1995 season. His effort Sunday was also the first time in franchise history a player scored the Niners first four touchdowns of the game.
San Francisco has won 14 consecutive regular season games dating back to Week 8 of the 2022 season, the second longest regular season winning streak in franchise history going back to the 1989-’90 seasons.
It was a franchise first fourth straight game the 49ers have scored 30 points or more to open a season, and the seventh straight regular season game dating back to Week 16 of the 2022 season.
Purdy’s 95.2% completion percentage was the highest single game completion percentage in franchise history, and the fourth highest in NFL history for a QB with a minimum of 20 attempts. He also improved to 9-0 in the regular season to start his career.