The San Francisco 49ers couldn’t fend off Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, but there was a silver lining in the 24-20 loss if you choose to see it.
After missing nearly 1,000 days due to injury, Jerick McKinnon was back on a football field. The running back caught what at the time was the go-ahead score in a back-and-forth fourth quarter:
966 days since he last played in an NFL game.
And Jerick McKinnon just gave the @49ers the lead! @JetMcKinnon1
📺: #AZvsSF on FOX
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It was a great sight after the running back missed each of his first two seasons in San Francisco due to knee injuries. In his first game back, he carried three times for 24 yards (8.0 YPC) with a long of 16, and caught three passes for 20 yards and the score. The TD was McKinnon’s first score since Dec. 3, 2017, and his first in a Niners’ uniform.
The 28-year-old told NFL Network’s Jim Trotter last week that he anticipated his return would be emotional and “I ain’t going to lie, I’ll probably cry.”
Had the Niners held on, that TD would have been even sweeter. As the season progresses, expect Kyle Shanahan to get the dual-threat McKinnon more involved. Two years ago, he signed as the perfect fit in Shanny’s offense. Now we’re finally able to see some buds of promise.
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