The San Francisco 49ers came into Glendale, Arizona as the NFC’s current No. 1 seed, and left as NFC West Champions, as they beat the Cardinals, 45-29, to improve to 11-3.

Embed from Getty Images

This team has two MVP candidates, a repeated division title and its sites on raising the Lombardi Trophy in February in Las Vegas.

“I think obviously winning the division is very important,” said 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey. “It’s a big step for us. But to your point, I think everybody knows where we want to be. We know that each week, you have to bring your best. You’re going to get everybody’s best shot. So, the standard has to continue to rise. In practice, meetings, and then obviously, for three hours on Sunday.”

McCaffrey has soared against the Cardinals this season with 38 carries for 221 yards and four touchdowns and 12 receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Actually McCaffrey has just soared this season, playing himself right into the MVP conversation.

McCaffrey has 20 touchdowns on the seasons, which is tied for first in the league. He has 1,292 rushing yards and 509 receiving yards. Kyle Shanahan said last week that beyond all that, McCaffrey is the best player he’s seen without the ball in his hands.

“I think Christian should be MVP,” said 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. “I really do believe that. He does everything for us. Runs the ball well, catches the ball, he does everything. So in my eyes, that’s an MVP.”

High praise from Purdy who is also very much in the conversation, and who arguably moved ahead of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on Sunday. Actually it’s not much of an argument. He moved ahead of him.

“I think he has a good chance of winning it with the way he is playing right now for us,” said 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. “If it happens, it happens but our main goal is to continue to stack these games and stack these wins and get into the Super Bowl.”

Embed from Getty Images

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense certainly looks elite behind his QB1 and RB1.

“I have been around a couple of MVPs in my career and these two are the most obvious to me” Shanahan said. “I might be a little biased being on their team, but I don’t think so. Like I said last week, all you have to do is look at numbers or you have to look at the film. Whichever one you say is more important to you, I think it’s extremely obvious since they’re both important. It should make it even that much stronger. Those guys are playing pretty good.”

Playing in front of his hometown crowd on Sunday, Purdy was 16-of-25 for 242 yards, four touchdowns and a rating of 135.3. But it’s not the stats. It’s the way he sees the field, the accuracy of his throws, his ability to read a defense and get the ball in the hands of the person most likely to get it into the end zone.

“…[H]e can see the whole field and there is nothing that he can’t do,” Shanahan said of Purdy. “He has a poise out there, you can see it. He can react. When he doesn’t have the time for stuff, he reacts and finds a way to check down and try not to take a sack or he creates and gets someone off-schedule. He’s had a great command over offense just running it, but also the amount of plays he’s made throughout these two years has been as many plays of any quarterback I have ever been around with how much he does.”

In the six games since the bye week, Purdy has thrown 17 touchdowns and two interceptions and post passer ratings of 148.9, 158.3, 86.7, 148.8, 122.1 and 135.3, respectively.

So, yeah, two MVP candidates in one offense – not too shabby and bodes well for the aforementioned ultimate goal of the 49ers.

Charvarius Ward

On a day where the 49ers were missing defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave – like REALLY missing them, cornerback Charvarius Ward continued his All-Pro season to the tune of two interceptions, including the first Pick-6 of his career.

“It means everything man,” Ward said. “I had a big smile on my face probably for the whole first half after the touchdown. I feel like I made a great play. Thank God, first of all. Two picks for the first time in my career, even high school, college and junior college. Definitely thankful for that.”

Ward leads the league with 22 passes defended but had expressed a desire to turn those into catches. Check, check.

“This week I caught balls from Sam Darnold,” Ward said after the game. “Sam’s a quarterback who throws the ball hard. It’s different when the quarterback is throwing the balls to you rather than your coach throwing the ball to you. There’s a different spin on it. Caught some balls from Sam Darnold and will probably do it every week.”

Game Notes

  • DL Kalia Davis left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir left the game with a rib injury late in the game. Shanahan said they will know more on Monday. He believes Lenoir got stepped on.
  • K Jake Moody set a 49ers’ rookie record for points scored with 107. He also kicked a 43-yard FG and was perfect on extra points, as he has been all season. Overall, he is 71-of-74 on kicks this year.
Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

I created Fangirl Sports Network as a place for female sports fans to follow their favorite teams with content and coverage that speaks directly to females. It started with one and then eight and now 32 NFL Fangirls and 15 NBA Fangirls.