SANTA CLARA — Christian McCaffrey grew up around the game of football, so he has seen a lot more than most in his 27 years.
On Wednesday, he offered perspective on what it is like to have 49ers left tackle Trent Williams as a teammate.
“He might be the best player I’ve ever seen,” McCaffrey said Wednesday, “so when he’s out there, he gives everybody a little boost of confidence.”
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Williams sustained an ankle sprain in the 49ers’ Oct. 15 game against the Cleveland Browns and limped toward the finish line. The 49ers lost that game, as well as their next two games with Williams sidelined due to the injury.
Williams' return was noticeable on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McCaffrey rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries and quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-3 victory that ended the 49ers’ skid and stopped the Jaguars’ win streak at five games.
Williams’ status as one of the best in the game is not exactly news. He was named to 10 Pro Bowls in his first 12 seasons — and is likely heading toward an 11th.
San Francisco 49ers
But Williams, 35, has probably been underrated, too.
He was not among the four offensive tackles voted onto the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s, and his first All-Pro recognition did not come until 2021. Then, he made it in back-to-back years.
When asked about his casual mention of Williams as being, perhaps, the best player he’s ever seen, McCaffrey explained.
“He’s really good,” he said. “There’s nothing he can’t do. He plays beyond the X’s and O’s and does things a lot of other people can’t do, and he’s been doing it for a really long time.
“That’s really the way I look at it. It’s fun running to his side.”
Entering Week 11, McCaffrey leads the NFL with 747 rushing yards. He has nine touchdowns on the ground and a 4.9-yard average per carry.
Not surprisingly, McCaffrey averaged 47.3 yards per game and 3.7 yards a carry in the three games Williams was injured. In the six other games with Williams not hobbled, he averaged 101 yards a game with a 5.2 average.