Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Richie James is the first 49ers player since Jerry Rice to accomplish this

Nov 12, 2020 at 12:47 PM--

Richie James. Not, Richie James Jr. We hear you loud and clear. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver said he prefers the former to the latter.

James had an impressive outing last week against the Green Bay Packers, hauling in a career-high nine passes for 184 yards (also a career-high) with a touchdown. No one was even sure he would play. Under normal circumstances, he might not have. Last week was far from normal circumstances, though. Of course, the same can be said of this entire injury-plagued season.

James was listed as "questionable" to play due to an ankle injury. However, the 49ers had just one other healthy receiver, Trent Taylor, on the roster before elevating two others from the practice squad hours before kickoff.

"I'd say I'm about 95 percent (healthy)," James told reporters after the game. "But I'm willing to do everything I could to help my team. So, if I've got to get out there and play on a 95 percent ankle, I will. That's just what I did."

Three of James' nine catches against the Packers went for 40-or-more yards. He became the first player to accomplish that since Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill did so against the New York Jets in 2017. James is the first 49ers player to do it since the legendary Jerry Rice in 1995.

What does James think of the achievement?

"That's why they call him the G.O.A.T. for a reason," James said Thursday on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "It's just unreal."

James was also informed that his single-game catches and yards totals put him in the elite company of four other former 49ers players, including Rice. The others are Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens, and John Taylor.

"Elite company, obviously," James commented. "That's something you want to continue to do. That's my motivation, trying to continue to go on that path of just kind of bringing my game out and being better than I was the week before.

"That's elite company, but you can only do so much, and you can only get better. So, I want to reach my ceiling, keep continuing to try to reach my ceiling. That's my goal."

Speaking of Rice, the Hall of Famer was impressed with James' breakout game.

"I was like, 'Where has this guy been?'" Rice said this week. "He shows flashes now and then, but just watching him really run his routes, get separation -- he caught one over the middle, and I'm a tough guy. When you catch a ball over the middle like that, you want to get downfield, and you want to put six on the board. I really thought he was going to score that one, but overall, he had a great football game, and maybe this can really boost his confidence and get us going."

You can listen to the entire KNBR interview with James below.

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