Christian McCaffrey shows appreciation for blocking on 65-yard TD run

Sep 12, 2023, 4:00 PM | Updated: 4:05 pm

Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Aaron Banks after a touchdown in...

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Everything went the 49ers way Week 1 of the 2023 regular season, so much so that even the wideouts were dropping defenders in the run game. That in turn, made Christian McCaffrey very happy.

The San Francisco 49ers running back was very appreciative of his teammates’ blocking prowess Sunday, especially on his long 65-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter. McCaffrey was most pleased with wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Ray-Ray McCloud III, the players who proved the necessary blocks downfield on the play.

Speaking to the media postgame, CMC gave props to his guys, elated that the run game is an entire team effort for the 49ers.

“When you got receivers who block like that, it’s a special feeling for a running back because you truly feel like your guys have your back and that’s an awesome feeling to have,” Christian McCaffrey said Sunday.

The ballcarrier followed up those statements with further endorsement, giving a shoutout to “receivers that block” on the Bussin With The Boys podcast Tuesday.

Wide receivers that block effectively are hard to come in the NFL, usually only known for catching passes. That’s not how the 49ers operate, using every player on the field in their run game. In fact, San Francisco is the best at that, with wideouts routinely frustrated opponents with their physical blocking.

It takes some time for everyone to buy in though, particularly for Aiyuk.

Stuck in the doghouse his rookie year, the star WR has elevated to his current form, working on his blocking skills over the years. Now entering his fourth season as a pro, Aiyuk has broken out with his route running and hands.

But it’s his improvement on the blocking that has impressed his coach the most.

“Oh, it was huge. I mean, [Brandon Aiyuk] and Ray-Ray McCloud are, it was an unbelievable run starting on the inside. Our guards and our center and our back really just our four versus their four up the middle, those guys did awesome. But then when it gets on the edge and you want to get touchdowns, that usually has to do with the receivers blocking and both of those guys, starting with B.A. and then to Ray-Ray to finish, that was as good of a clip as you could have to kind of show how important every play is to us, despite what type of play it is,” coach Kyle Shanahan explained Monday.”

And the players wouldn’t have it any other way, rallying around each other in the heat of battle, all determined to win a Super Bowl this season.

“Once I heard the crowd going, I took off,” McCloud said postgame. “It means more when you like your teammate, and I love my dog McCaffrey. It’s a family, man. We go so hard for each other. It shows on the field.”

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