At one point in October 2022, the San Francisco 49ers were 3-3, and although their defense was strong, their offense was lackluster.
That’s when they made a big trade that landed them dual-threat running back Christian McCaffrey, and it was a huge factor in turning their season around.
After losing in Week 7 to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco did not lose again until the NFC Championship Game.
Simply put, McCaffrey transformed them from a middling offensive team to an outstanding one, and The Athletic’s David Lombardi illustrated that development with some stats.
These were the 49ers' 2022 DVOA ranks from Christian McCaffrey's entry into the full-time lineup onward (15-week NFL stretch):
Pass offense: #1
Run offense: #6
Pass defense: #4
Run defense: #5
Special teams: #5
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) July 6, 2023
Before McCaffrey arrived, the 49ers running game consisted of three yards and a cloud of dust, which made them predictable and easy to defend.
But he gave them a legitimate threat in the backfield who could also catch passes, and all of a sudden, they had a potent and dynamic offense.
The offensive turnaround the Niners experienced with him on board spanned two different starting quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy.
Purdy is currently recovering from a torn UCL in his throwing elbow he suffered in the NFC Championship Game, but there is growing optimism he’ll be ready for Week 1 of this coming season.
Perhaps McCaffrey will be even better this fall and winter by virtue of having a full offseason and training camp with San Francisco.
In 11 games with them last season, he had 746 rushing yards, 464 receiving yards, and 10 total touchdowns.
The 27-year-old is just a few seasons removed from becoming only the third player to ever record 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season.NEXT: Graphic Shows How The 49ers' Defense Dominated Last Season