The San Francisco 49ers welcomed the Arizona Cardinals for the second contest of a three-game home stand for the red and gold. The Cardinals are also the second NFC West opponent of the year for the 49ers, and with their 35-16 win over Arizona, the 49ers improve to 4-0 for the first time since the 2019 season. Their 30-plus points in each of the first four games is a franchise first.
"Everyone's on a mission, and we expect a lot out of ourselves," quarterback Brock Purdy said. "Every game matters for us. We have an end goal in mind. Everyone is hungry to do the little things right. The coaches are hard on us when we win but there are plays to be made out there, there are plays to be better at. I felt like last week we took that to heart, and the guys came out very detailed this week. It felt good."
Here are five takeaways from Sunday's game:
Running Back Christian McCaffrey Sets a New Franchise Record
McCaffrey continues to rack up the accolades for his stellar play in 2023. On Sunday against the Cardinals, the dual-threat back cemented himself in team history by overtaking Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice's streak of 12-consecutive games with one-or-more touchdowns from the 1987 season. That was just the start of his production in Week 4 which materialized into a four-touchdown performance. He was one score shy of matching a 49ers single-game touchdown scoring franchise record.
"(Five) would have been nice," McCaffrey said jokingly. "(Kyle Shanahan) obviously has a lot going on in-game, and that's the last of anyone's worries is to do that. As long as we scored, I was happy."
It took McCaffrey roughly six minutes to surpass the franchise record, punching in a four-yard score to get San Francisco on the board in their first offensive series. He would find pay dirt two more times in the first half. On a running play, the veteran running back hurdled over a defender to run in touchdown No. 2 of the matchup to put the 49ers up 14-0 early in the second quarter. McCaffrey later caught a six-yard pass to extend the lead to 21-3 with 5:22 left in the first half.
His fourth and final touchdown of the day came early in the fourth quarter as he sliced through Arizona's offense for the two-yard rushing score. McCaffrey closed out the day with 20 carries for 106 yards and three scores on the ground in addition to his seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Quarterback Brock Purdy Wows Once Again
The second-year QB extends his regular season win streak to nine-straight games with an impressive showing against the Cardinals. Purdy went 20-of-21 for 283 yards and a touchdown and for the third time this season, logged a 100-plus passer rating. Purdy didn't throw his first incompletion until the middle of the third quarter on his 14th pass attempt and sealed the 49ers victory with a fourth quarter QB sneak.
"He was great. He was almost perfect," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He hung in there and made some big throws. A lot of times, that defense doesn't give you the big throws, so you have to pick them apart. He was very efficient at doing that, and when he had his opportunities for the big ones, he saw it right and made the right throws. Our guys came down with it."
"Today, I'm not lying, they told me I had one incompletion at the end of the game, and I said, 'Oh my gosh,'" Purdy said. "It was just one of those games I really wasn't thinking about it."
After highlighting the long ball as an area he hoped to improve upon, Purdy connected with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 42-yard gain on the way to San Francisco's third touchdown-scoring drive. Aiyuk finger-tapped the deep shot from Purdy with two Arizona defenders all over him to set the 49ers up on the Cardinals 22 yard line. In the opening drive of the second half, Purdy hit Aiyuk for more big yardage, picking up 25 yards on the connection. The third and final big-time connection between these two occurred late in the third quarter. Purdy dropped a dime to Aiyuk 34 yards down the field as part of San Francisco's eight-play 75-yard touchdown scoring drive.
Cornerback Kendall Sheffield and the Special Teams Back Up the Cardinals
Sheffield, one of the newer additions to the 49ers practice squad, came up big for the 49ers on a second half special teams play. Following a 45-yard punt from Mitch Wishnowsky, Sheffield got his hands on the punt near the goal line. Before falling into the end zone and giving Arizona the touchback, he tossed the punt back into play to force the Cardinals to begin their first offensive series of the third quarter inside the 1 yard line.
Goal Line Stop from Safety Talanoa Hufanga
The 49ers All-Pro was responsible for stopping a two-point conversion attempt by Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs. After Dobbs broke a tackle on the left side, Hufanga shoved the quarterback out of bounds to keep them from making it a four-point game.
49ers Suffer Injuries in Week 4
Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano was ruled out of Sunday's contest with a concussion in the third quarter. Later in that same frame, linebacker Dre Greenlaw got rolled up on in the third quarter but was able to return to the game. Shanahan noted there may be more injuries to report after evaluations but that remains to be determined.