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Christian McCaffrey breaks two 49ers touchdown records

Nov 24, 2023 at 8:30 AM--

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San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey scored two rushing touchdowns in yesterday's 31-13 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Those scores give him 11 rushing touchdowns on the year, to go along with 5 receiving touchdowns.

While McCaffrey's oft-publicized touchdown streak may have been snapped at 17 against Jacksonville, his touchdown totals have made him the uncontested leader in two important San Francisco franchise records.

First, McCaffrey's 11 rushing touchdowns in 2023 have set a new 49ers franchise record for most rushing touchdowns by a player in one season. He breaks a logjam at what was once the top of the record books—five 49ers players had rushed for 10 scores in a season, including Frank Gore (2009), Derek Loville (1995), Ricky Watters (1993), Billy Kilmer (1961), J.D. Smith (1959), and Joe Perry (1953, 1948).

Second, McCaffrey's 16 total touchdowns represent a new high-water mark for any 49ers running back. Roger Craig, one of San Francisco's all-time great tailbacks, previously led with 15 overall touchdowns in 1985. He's trailed by Frank Gore (2009) and Derek Loville (1995), who put up 13 combined scores in their respective peak years.

What makes McCaffrey's total special is the fact that he achieved it in just 11 games (12 weeks). The last time a full NFL season amounted to that many games and weeks was 1946—two years before Joe 'The Jet' Perry broke into the record books with his rushing touchdowns. That McCaffrey has accomplished so much in so short a span is nothing short of incredible. With six games remaining in the 2023 season, McCaffrey and the Niners have a chance to build on a franchise record that may remain unchallenged for decades.

Still, McCaffrey has a ways to go before he breaks his own single-season touchdown record of 19, set back in 2019. And even now, "Run CMC" has a steep hill to climb if he wants to challenge any all-time single season records, trailing LaDainian Tomlinson's 31 TD mark set back in 2006. Currently, McCaffrey is on pace to end the season with 24 total scores, which would place him sixth all-time, tied with Priest Holmes (2002) and John Riggins (1983). Only Emmet Smith (25, 1995), Marshall Faulk (26, 2000), Holmes again (27, 2003), Shaun Alexander (28, 2005), and the aforementioned Tomlinson have recorded more.

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