SANTA CLARA — Christian McCaffrey has seen this story before. In fact, he actually has lived it.
The running back knows there is no reason for the 49ers to panic after their 31-17 loss -- and third straight -- to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Levi's Stadium. A little over one year ago, the All-Pro was traded to a 3-3 team whose playoff hopes quickly were coming into question.
“The way I see it, when I got traded here last year we were 3-4,” McCaffrey said after Sunday's loss. “I didn’t sense an inch of panic. It was a team who was hungry to win, who knew they could win and who did just that. Just kept chopping wood, and that’s really what it comes down to.”
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The club lost McCaffrey’s first game as a member of the 49ers to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7, but one week later dominated the division-rival Los Angeles Rams in blowout fashion and never looked back.
The 49ers didn’t lose another game until the NFC Championship Game in January, and their next regular-season loss didn’t come until Week 6 of the 2023 NFL season.
“Now we are 5-3 coming into a bye, and with the right guys,” McCaffrey said. “This is a tough league, and we got the right guys to get everything fixed.”
The 49ers will have an extra week to think about how they can clean up all phases of their game as they head into their week off. Their next contest will not be an easy one, heading back out to the East Coast to play a 6-2 Jacksonville Jaguars team that has won their last five contests.
San Francisco 49ers
“The time for panic is definitely not now,” McCaffrey said. “We need to be urgent. They beat us today and it should piss everyone off, and it does. Like I said, we’ve got the right guys to get a little bit of rest and come back hungry as ever.”
McCaffrey believes the extra week of recovery comes at the perfect time to reset for the remainder of the season. The Stanford product has been on the field for 411 offensive plays through eight games, or 81 percent, but remains steadfast that he “feels great.”
The running back added there is complete accountability through the entire roster, with not one player pointing fingers at quarterback Brock Purdy or anyone else in the locker room or front office during their losing streak.
“The head coach and the quarterback get way too much credit, way too much blame,” McCaffrey said. “You win as a team, you lose as a team. We are not in that game without Brock. Each player has to be equally hard on themselves as anyone else.
“That’s what we are going to do, get some rest and get back to it.”