Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs past Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) during the third quarter of a NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey insists he’ll play vs. Eagles

Christian McCaffrey has been a talented yet brittle performer during his NFL career.

But the San Francisco 49ers running back made it clear Thursday that he will play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the host Philadelphia Eagles.

McCaffrey missed his second straight day of practice due to a right calf injury but had a one-word answer when asked the chances of him missing the game against the top-seeded Eagles.

“Zero,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey is focusing on the mental part of the game and studying the possible plays. He also is taking part in walk-through portions of practice.

“It’s the same process for me, just lowering a little bit of the physical load,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey has been a solid contributor for the second-seeded 49ers since being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in mid-October.

He rushed for 746 yards and six touchdowns in 11 regular-season games for the team and also caught 52 passes for 464 yards and four scores. He has scored at least one touchdown in the past eight games, the top such streak of his six-year career.

San Francisco has won all 12 games McCaffrey has started, including playoff victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

He ripped off 119 yards on 15 carries and had a touchdown reception against the Seahawks in the NFC wild-card round but was limited to 35 rushing yards and one score on 10 carries in last Sunday’s divisional round over the Cowboys.

Adding to the anxiety over the running game is that No. 2 back Elijah Mitchell (groin) also missed his second straight practice on Thursday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan expects Mitchell to be available against the Eagles.

The San Francisco running game will surely be counted on Sunday to help take pressure off rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who has won all seven of his NFL starts.

The 49ers will want to slow a potent Eagles’ pass rush that is enjoying a historic campaign.

Counting the postseason, the Eagles have racked up 75 sacks, third-most in NFL history. The only two higher outputs came from the mid-1980s Chicago Bears, who had a record 82 in 1984 and 80 in 1985.

Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick (16 sacks), defensive ends Brandon Graham (11) and Josh Sweat (11) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (11) all established career highs for sacks. The defense also includes tackle Fletcher Cox (seven sacks) and safety C.J. Johnson-Gardner, who tied for the league lead with six interceptions.

“They fly to the ball well. They have a good pass rush,” McCaffrey said. “For us, it’s about executing the play call, though.

“Kyle knows all that stuff, and he knows exactly where he wants to go with the ball. It’s just up to us to be able to do it at full speed and play beyond the X’s and O’s.”

While the Eagles ranked second in total defense (301.5 yards per game) during the regular season, San Francisco was even better as it led the NFL in total defense (300.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (16.3 points per game).

Defensive end Nick Bosa (NFL-high 18.5 sacks) is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year honors, while linebacker Fred Warner (130 tackles) topped 100 stops for the fifth straight season.

Warner is also known as one of the NFL’s better on-field talkers and that includes barbs directed toward his teammates.

“Fred is always going to talk because he’s a true leader,” Shanahan said. “Fred should be the guy who talks because of the way he carries himself every day. Everyone knows how good of a player he is but when it comes to what he does day-in, day-out since he’s been here … he’s ahead of everybody.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) warms up before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel sit out practice

San Francisco 49ers star Christian McCaffrey, hybrid receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell sat out practice on Wednesday as they nursed their respective injuries.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan, however, told reporters that he expects McCaffrey (calf), Samuel (ankle) and Mitchell (groin) to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I expect them (to play), but there’s no guarantees,” Shanahan said on Wednesday. “Especially with it being an NFC Championship Game, I think there’s a better chance they’ll be ready since there’s nothing guaranteed after this. Hopefully, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Shanahan initially deemed McCaffrey and Mitchell as day-to-day on Monday, one day after the 49ers’ 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Shanahan also addressed the availability of defensive end Charles Omenihu (oblique) for Sunday’s game. Omenihu was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence on Monday after police were called to his home in San Jose, Calif.

“We’ve looked into it for the last 24 hours or 48 hours, not necessarily myself but other people,” Shanahan said. “We feel very good letting the legal process take care of itself. Don’t feel we should kick him off our team at this time.”

The NFL confirmed that Omenihu will remain available and that the case will be reviewed down the line.

“The matter will be reviewed under the league’s personal conduct policy. There is no change to his status,” the league’s statement said.

Omenihu, 25, has recorded career-best totals in tackles (20) and sacks (4.5) in 17 games (three starts) this season. He also had two sacks and a forced fumble in San Francisco’s 41-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round.

McCaffrey, 26, rushed for 746 yards and six touchdowns and caught 52 passes for 464 yards and four scores in 11 regular-season games for the 49ers after being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in mid-October. He was superb in the NFC wild-card round when he gained 119 yards on 15 carries and added a TD catch.

Mitchell, 24, was limited to five regular-season games due to two knee injuries — one to each knee — and had 279 yards and two touchdowns. He had just 2 yards on nine carries versus Seattle but had a touchdown grab among his two catches for 25 yards.

Samuel, 27, had 56 catches for 632 yards and two touchdowns and 42 carries for 232 yards and three scores in 13 games this season. He had six receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown in the wild-card game versus Seattle.

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs past Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) during the third quarter of a NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers RBs Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell both ailing

The San Francisco 49ers’ top two running backs, Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, are dealing with injuries heading into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCaffrey aggravated a calf injury during last Sunday’s 19-12 divisional round playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys while Mitchell sustained a groin injury.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan termed both running backs as day-to-day on Monday during a conference call with reporters.

Shanahan also said defensive end Charles Omenihu (oblique) is day-to-day.

“We’re expecting to get them all back for Sunday,” said Shanahan, “but we’ll see how it goes through the week with practice and everything. Hopefully it’ll go well and that’ll get them ready for Sunday.”

Mitchell rushed for a game-high 51 yards on 14 carries against Dallas. McCaffrey rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries and caught six passes for 22 yards.

McCaffrey admitted after Sunday’s contest that playing against the Cowboys was a bit of a struggle physically.

“I was fighting but made it through, made it through great,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey rushed for 746 yards and six touchdowns and caught 52 passes for 464 yards and four scores in 11 regular-season games for the 49ers after being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in mid-October. He was superb in the NFC wild-card round when he gained 119 yards on 15 carries and added a TD catch in a 41-23 rout of the Seattle Seahawks.

Mitchell was limited to five regular-season games due to two knee injuries — one to each knee — and had 279 yards and two touchdowns. He had just 2 yards on nine carries versus Seattle but had a touchdown grab among his two catches for 25 yards.

Omenihu had a career-high 4.5 sacks during the regular season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) stiff arms Los Angeles Rams linebacker Ernest Jones (53) in the first quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey’s TD trifecta powers 49ers past Rams

Christian McCaffrey had a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown as the visiting San Francisco 49ers continued their regular-season dominance over the rival Los Angeles Rams with a 31-14 victory Sunday at Inglewood, Calif.

McCaffrey had a 34-yard passing touchdown in the second quarter, a 9-yard receiving score in the third and a 1-yard rushing TD in the fourth to seal San Francisco’s eighth consecutive regular-season victory over Los Angeles.

McCaffrey became the first NFL player with the touchdown hat trick since the San Diego Chargers’ LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005.

Jimmy Garoppolo was 21-of-25 passing for the 49ers (4-4) with 235 yards and two touchdowns. McCaffrey, in just his second game with San Francisco after a trade from the Carolina Panthers, had 94 yards rushing and eight catches for 55 yards.

Matthew Stafford had a rushing and passing touchdown for the Rams (3-4), going 22 of 33 in the air for a season-low 187 yards. Cooper Kupp had eight receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown for the Rams but left with 1:02 remaining after an apparent leg injury.

Los Angeles has not defeated San Francisco in a regular-season game since 2018, although the Rams did get the best of their rival in last season’s NFC Championship Game on the way to a Super Bowl victory.

The Rams grabbed the early 7-0 lead when Stafford squeezed into the end zone from 1 yard out to cap a 17-play, 88-yard drive. The 49ers answered immediately, finishing off a 71-yard drive when McCaffrey took a backward pass from Garoppolo in the flat and hit Brandon Aiyuk on a 34-yard scoring strike.

The Rams pushed their advantage to 14-7 midway through the second quarter on Kupp’s 16-yard reception. The 49ers pulled within 14-10 at the half on a 29-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.

San Francisco moved into the lead for good at 17-14 with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter when McCaffrey made a leaping catch along the right side of the end zone on a 9-yard pass from Garoppolo.

McCaffrey’s 1-yard touchdown run came with 12:07 remaining for a 24-14 lead and San Francisco made it 31-14 on a 7-yard pass from Garoppolo to George Kittle with 6:41 remaining.

The 49ers played without wide receiver Deebo Samuel because of a hamstring injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga (29) and linebacker Fred Warner (54) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Super Bowl odds shorten with Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey’s return to the Bay Area created an immediate seismic shift in NFL futures odds.

The San Francisco 49ers enter Week 7 in a three-way tied atop the scuffling NFC West and are only a half-game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Arizona Cardinals. However, they would also be the No. 4 seed in the NFC if the playoffs started today.

That’s why general manager John Lynch pushed all of his chips to the center of the table, sending three draft picks next year and one in 2024 to Carolina to acquire McCaffrey. The former Heisman Trophy candidate will now play his home games 20 minutes down the road from where he starred at Stanford.

With McCaffrey taking over the lead role in the injury-plagued backfield, the 49ers went from +100 at BetMGM to win the division to -120. Their odds of winning the NFC Championship shifted from +800 to +650, while their odds of winning the Super Bowl shortened from +1800 to +1400.

The sportsbook reported Friday that 63 percent of the bets made since the trade were on the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, 94 percent were on them to win the NFC and 83 percent were on them to win the division.

The impact was similar at SportsBetting.ag, where San Francisco’s title odds were trimmed from +1600 to +1000. The 49ers now have the fourth-shortest Super Bowl odds at the sportsbook.

“We were already pretty exposed in terms of futures liability with the Niners,” said Robert Cooper, the head trader at SportsBetting.ag. “It seems like McCaffrey will be a good fit for that (Kyle) Shanahan system, and the bets are coming in heavy across the board despite San Fran looking like a very average team so far this season.”

The Panthers’ future odds predictably went in the other direction with McCaffrey following coach Matt Rhule (fired) and wide receiver Robbie Anderson (traded to Arizona) out the door.

Carolina was already tied for the longest odds to win the NFC (+30000) and Super Bowl (+75000) at BetMGM, but the Panthers did shift from +4000 to +5000 to win the NFC South.

That’s despite general manager Scott Fitterer insisting the team is tanking this season to focus on next year’s NFL draft.

“No,” Fitterer said. “I think what we had to figure in was what’s best for the organization. Our focus is still on going out and competing every weekend. We expect to win. That was (coach Steve Wilks’) mindset this weekend.

“The NFL is a business where you lose guys – whether it’s injuries, trades, whatever happens. The expectation of winning never changes. Those guys in the locker room fight too hard. They work too hard every day. So, we owe it to them. That’s our expectation as an organization is to go out and win every game.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: 49ers land Christian McCaffrey in trade with Panthers

After weeks of speculation, the Carolina Panthers reportedly traded star running back Christian McCaffrey, sending him back to where he starred in college.

Multiple media outlets reported Thursday night that the Panthers are trading McCaffrey to San Francisco. According to NFL.com, Carolina will receive three 2023 draft picks (second, third and fourth round) and a fifth-rounder in 2024 in exchange for the former Stanford star.

McCaffrey established himself as one of the top offensive weapons in the NFL upon entering the league as the eighth overall pick in 2017. His best season came in 2019, when he eclipsed 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving and totaled 19 touchdowns.

Injuries have hampered him since, however, as he played in 16 of his team’s 39 games since the start of the 2020 season. He has 393 yards on 85 carries and 277 yards on 33 receptions with three total scores thus far in 2022.

The Panthers (1-5) appear to be in a full-blown rebuild at this point, having traded receiver Robbie Anderson to Arizona earlier this week. Anderson had been sent to the locker room during Carolina’s 24-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday following arguments with coaches on the sideline.

Carolina fired head coach Matt Rhule earlier this month after the team stumbled to a 1-4 start.

The 49ers are off to a 3-3 start after reaching the NFC Championship Game last season.

San Francisco has employed a running-back-by-committee philosophy in recent years, due in part to injuries at the position. The story has continued into this season, with starter Elijah Mitchell going down with a knee injury in Week 1. Jeff Wilson Jr. has assumed the No. 1 role and performed well in recent weeks. His 81 carries, 400 rushing yards and two rushing scores all lead the club.

The team’s second-leading rusher is receiver Deebo Samuel (136 yards), and their No. 3 rusher is quarterback Trey Lance — and he was lost for the season to an ankle injury in Week 2.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey Next Team Odds: Bills favored to land star RB

The Carolina Panthers fired their coach last week and unloaded one disgruntled offensive playmaker on Monday, but will they also move franchise running back Christian McCaffrey ahead of the NFL’s Nov. 1 trade deadline?

The Panthers are reportedly open to listening to offers, although the chances of a deal being completed are uncertain. Carolina dropped to 1-5 on the season with Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams and the Panthers have now lost 12 of their past 13 games overall.

McCaffrey admitted Sunday that “every loss sucks,” but said that any potential trade situation is out of his control. His contract runs through 2025, but McCaffrey does carry an $11.8 million non-guaranteed salary for next year along with a salary cap hit of more than $19.5 million.

SportsBetting.ag installed odds on all 31 potential NFL destinations, with the Buffalo Bills leading the early charge.

Christian McCaffrey Next Team Odds
Buffalo Bills: 4-1
Miami Dolphins: 5-1
Los Angeles Rams: 6-1
New England Patriots: 8-1
San Francisco 49ers: 9-1
Denver Broncos: 10-1
Philadelphia Eagles: 12-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 14-1
Atlanta Falcons: 16-1
Jacksonville Jaguars: 18-1
New York Jets: 20-1
Baltimore Ravens: 22-1
Chicago Bears: 25-1
Pittsburgh Steelers: 28-1
Arizona Cardinals: 33-1
Dallas Cowboys: 35-1
Kansas City Chiefs: 40-1
Green Bay Packers: 45-1
Washington Commanders: 50-1
Seattle Seahawks: 55-1
Las Vegas Raiders: 66-1
New York Giants: 66-1
Detroit Lions: 80-1
Houston Texans: 80-1
Los Angeles Chargers: 80-1
New Orleans Saints: 80-1
Cincinnati Bengals: 100-1
Cleveland Browns: 100-1
Indianapolis Colts: 100-1
Minnesota Vikings: 100-1
Tennessee Titans: 100-1
*If traded during the 2022 regular season.

McCaffrey has topped 100 yards for scrimmage in five consecutive games and the 26-year-old already has 24 career games with at least 50 rushing and 50 receiving yards.

That kind of production would be welcomed by a number of contenders despite McCaffrey’s injury issues the past two years, when he missed 23 of 33 games.

The Bills were installed as the favorites to land McCaffrey because they lack a true No. 1 running back and they have a first-round pick in 2023. That could be what it takes to pique the Panthers’ interest, and it’s something running back-needy teams like the 49ers, Broncos and Rams can’t offer.

McCaffrey grew up in the Denver area and his father starred for the Broncos, but the team also lacks a second-round pick next year courtesy of the Russell Wilson blockbuster over the offseason.

The Miami Dolphins started off 3-0 but have dropped three consecutive games while dealing with quarterback injury issues. They also rank 30th in the league in rushing, averaging only 81.2 yards per game on the ground, and have the second-shortest odds of landing McCaffrey at 5-1 despite having a veteran backfield tandem of Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds.

“All that stuff’s out of my control,” McCaffrey said Sunday of the trade rumors. “My job is to be the best Carolina Panther I can be and do everything I can for my teammates.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs with the ball against New York Giants defensive back Fabian Moreau (37) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey active vs. Cardinals

Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey is active for Sunday’s game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals.

McCaffrey missed two days of practice this week and had been questionable with a thigh injury.

McCaffrey, 26, is coming off his second consecutive 100-yard performance last Sunday after he finished with 108 in Carolina’s 22-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring) also is active Sunday but fellow wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is inactive.

The Panthers’ other inactive players included running back Raheem Blackshear, cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, offensive lineman Cade Mays, defensive tackle Phil Hoskins and defensive end Amare Barno.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Kaden Elliss (55) tackles Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey not spotted at practice

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was not spotted on the field for Thursday’s practice, multiple media outlets reported.

McCaffrey also missed Wednesday’s session due to a thigh injury. Coach Matt Rhule labeled the status of his star player as “day-to-day” on Wednesday.

Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman likely would split carries should McCaffrey sit out Sunday’s game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals (1-2). Hubbard has rushed four times for 28 yards this season for the Panthers (1-2), while Foreman has four carries for 14 yards.

McCaffrey, 26, is coming off his second consecutive 100-yard performance last Sunday after he finished with 108 in Carolina’s 22-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

McCaffrey is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards with 243. He also has 10 catches for 57 yards through three games.

McCaffrey played in just 10 of a possible 33 games over the past two seasons due to ankle and shoulder issues.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) runs with the ball against New York Giants defensive back Fabian Moreau (37) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey (ankle) off injury report

The Carolina Panthers removed running back Christian McCaffrey from the injury report Friday.

After being listed as a limited participant in Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury, he was a full participant Friday and appears good to go for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

McCaffrey, 26, played in just 10 of a possible 33 games over the past two seasons due to ankle and shoulder issues.

He rushed for 102 yards in last Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants, his first 100-yard effort on the ground since his All-Pro season in 2019. Through two games, McCaffrey has 185 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown.

The Panthers added defensive end Brian Burns (ankle) and defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis (groin) to the injury report. Both were limited in practice Friday.

Cornerbacks Donte Jackson (hamstring) and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III (Achilles) are both questionable for Sunday. Jackson was a full participant in Friday’s practice, but Thomas-Oliver did not take the field.

–Field Level Media