NFL running backs are upset and peace looks far off.

McCaffrey's excellent play at the right moment has helped the 49ers go from a typical elite team to a Super Bowl contender against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The Kansas City offense relies on Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, who are still strong after so many years together, but the 49ers score with a diversified assault that has no vulnerabilities rushing or passing.

Naturally, McCaffrey is responsible for that infraction. His influence permeates everything the 49ers do. Running back value may be declining, but McCaffrey shows what can happen when a team has a special one who contributes in many ways.

McCaffrey topped the league in running with 1,459 yards, over 300 ahead of Derrick Henry. Only part of the tale. He rushed 272 times for 5.4 yards and was quite effective. He led the league with 339 touches and six yards per carry, including 67 catches. De'Von Achane, a Miami Dolphins backup who played nearly one-third of McCaffrey's minutes, averaged more. McCaffrey gets the ball more than any other NFL player, and few have his efficiency metrics. A Stanford star before joining Carolina, the seventh-year pro is in a class of his own.

He benefits from being a 49er. McCaffrey averages 3.2 yards per rush before contact as his offensive line, headed by the ageless Williams, drives tacklers away. This number topped the league in regular season running backs and exceeded certain NFL backs' average yards per carry. It doesn't mean McCaffrey got away with it

McCaffrey's 2.2 yards after contact were sixth-best in the NFL, as defenses realized that putting a touch on him is worse than not getting to him. Despite his elusiveness, McCaffrey's strength this year wasn't making defenses miss. (He tied for 17th in NFL broken tackles with 15.) The problem was that McCaffrey is tough to tackle and takes a lot of space. Accessing him was only half the fight.

McCaffrey offers explosiveness and sure-handedness. He caught 83 passes this season without dropping one. He mishandled three times, which is unusual, but his hands were amazing. The 49ers attempted over 350 passes to him this season. McCaffrey dropped it on three plays, 0.8%.

With two All-Pro selections, the 27-year-old has a strong case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a Super Bowl would be a great addition. The NFL's postseason honors, revealed last weekend, could benefit McCaffrey, who was named Offensive Player of the Year by the NFLWA. McCaffrey would be a league MVP contender if non-quarterbacks were evaluated.

Winning the Super Bowl would put McCaffrey a third of the way toward emulating his father, Ed, who won three in a 13-year career with the Broncos. Despite not playing in the 1994 Super Bowl, Ed won a ring with the 49ers. Christian may need to touch the ball more to score another. Maybe 30?