Christian McCaffrey scores third first-half touchdown

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey has made himself comfortable in the end zone since arriving via trade last year. He's at it again.

After scoring on a 2-yard run on San Francisco's opening drive against the Arizona Cardinals, McCaffrey's encore touchdown offered a little more sizzle. On first-and-10 from Arizona's 18, Niners quarterback Brock Purdy threw backward to McCaffrey racing to his right side.

McCaffrey hauled it in, cut back, leaped over a defender and raced into the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown. It was ruled a run because Purdy's pass went backward.

With his first end zone visit, McCaffrey has now scored a touchdown in 13 consecutive games, including the playoffs. That surpasses the franchise record held by Jerry Rice and puts him in striking distance of the all-time record of 17 held by former Baltimore Colts receiver Lenny Moore.

It's McCaffrey's first multi-touchdown game this season and his third since the 49ers traded for him on Oct. 20, 2022.

McCaffrey hit the hat trick with his third first-half touchdown with 5:22 left in the second quarter. This time, it came through the air as he grabbed a 6-yard toss from Purdy and rolled over a defender into the end zone. He's the first Niner since running back Tevin Coleman in 2019 to score three touchdowns in the opening half.