49ers' run game is fueled by mutual respect between CMC, Williams

49ers' run game is fueled by mutual respect between CMC, Williams originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — There is no doubt that Trent Williams has the utmost respect for Christian McCaffrey, but on Thursday, the left tackle gave an example of what makes the 49ers MVP candidate so special.

“The game winning touchdown,” Williams said. “That guy is unblocked in the hole and obviously that could have been a first down and we’d still be cheering. But for him to make that guy miss. We say, ‘That’s yours.’ We can’t block all 11, you got to leave one.

“You tell the running back all the time, you got to take care of one. 99 percent of the time, he is going to take care of his. So, you know if you can hold on to your guy for a split second and let him get through the line, he’s going to create havoc.”

The feeling is mutual from the All-Pro running back, who gives Williams a ton of credit for making it possible to rush for a league-high 1,459 yards and 14 touchdowns. The MVP candidate couldn’t be happier with Williams clearing a path for him on the field.

“I’ve learned it’s really fun to run behind Trent,” McCaffrey said with a huge smile across his face. “And I have no idea how somebody that big moves like that. I’ve yet to figure that out.”

The 11-time Pro Bowl and four-time All-Pro tackle stands at 6-foot-five and weighs 320 pounds. Williams ability to move a defensive lineman and/or get several yards upfield ahead of a ball carrier is uncanny.

Even after knowing him for 14 years, coach Kyle Shanahan is constantly surprised by his left tackle’s physical prowess.

“You should have seen his workout last week,” Shanahan said. “After having a week off and him just being in there deadlifting and doing box jumps and stuff. You would have thought he was a 24-year-old specimen. Instead, he is 35-year-old specimen. So I’m sure he’ll be a 40-year-old specimen too. So, I trust the man.”

Williams has already announced that he will return for a fifth season in the Bay Area in 2024. While fans and 49ers staff alike are happy for Williams leaving no doubt about his future, they may need to thank McCaffrey for being a part of that quick decision.

“Man, blocking for the best running back in the league is just — it makes our job so much easier,” Williams said.

Williams and McCaffrey hope to clear a path to their first Super Bowl appearances by getting past the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. PT.

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