Rams insult to injury: McCaffrey’s TD catch was intended for TE Kittle
By Bret Stuter
I’m not certain that anyone in SoFi Stadium was the least bit surprised that the San Francisco 49ers defeated the LA Rams for their eighth consecutive regular-season victory over the Rams. Nor do I believe that anyone was the least bit surprised by just how much of the 49ers’ offense newly acquired RB Christian McCaffrey was featured in his first true test of how quickly he could master the 49ers’ offensive playbook.
For the record, the 49ers’ offense ran 49 plays that afternoon. McCaffrey threw one 39-yard touchdown pass, rushed 18 times for 94 yards and a touchdown, and even caught eight of nine passes thrown his way for 55 yards and a touchdown.
That makes 28 plays out of the 49 total offensive snaps that directly involved McCaffrey. The 49ers’ offense scored 31 points, and again, McCaffrey was directly involved in 21 of those points.
How is it that before the game, we knew enough to write this:
"“The Rams will likely face a lot of 49ers’ new RB Christian McCaffrey” – 49ers vs. Rams: Game day info, betting spread, and how to watch"
Pretty accurate fortune-telling, I’d say.
The 49ers won the bidding war and wanted to flaunt it
But on game day, it seemed as though the Rams were completely unaware that McCaffrey would be the star of the show. How could he not be? The story leading up to the trade that moved McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers was already reported to be that the Rams had lost out in a bidding war for McCaffrey.
The winning bid from the 49ers included second, third, and fourth-round 2023 picks, and a fifth-round 2024 pick. The Rams had offered second and third-rounders in 2023, fourth and fifth-rounders in 2024, and running back Cam Akers.
In the end, that fourth-round pick used to rent RB Sony Michel in 2021 was the difference maker.
But it was clear that the 49ers, whose players love to troll the Rams relentlessly, would do a bit of trolling as a team. Still, the trifecta of deploying McCaffrey to rush, pass, and catch a touchdown against the Rams was a bit over the top, even for San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
But it was one more occasion when everything went the 49ers’ way. In his post-game interview, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo admitted that he threw that McCaffrey TD pass to TE George Kittle, and just by dumb luck RB Christian McCaffrey was there to make the catch and the score.
The LA Rams are 3-4. Yes, the team can end the season with a 7-3 record and finish this year better than .500. But in all honesty, even a record of 10-7 does not guarantee anything for the Rams. The team needs help. But the offense is in ICU, while the most impactful position to add to the team feels like a pass rusher.
Will the Rams make a trade? They had tried once already. But as we saw above the 49ers won that bidding war. And, in all honesty, of the eight consecutive regular-season game losses to the 49ers? Losing the bidding war for RB Christian McCaffrey may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.