In his third season in the league, Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey has separated himself as arguably the best talent at his position. McCaffrey has continued to add to his impressive 2019 campaign, which has seen him set several NFL records along the way that have put him in the thick of the MVP conversation. He added another impressive mark to his resume in Week 13 action against the Washington Redskins.
Christian McCaffrey’s career-best campaign
The Panthers have struggled to find their footing in the 2019 season, but that hasn’t deterred the torrid pace that McCaffrey has put forth.
The 23-year-old has been the league’s most productive running back as he has a career-high 1,167 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns along with 75 receptions for 644 receiving yards and four touchdowns. McCaffrey has continued to fill the stat sheet that has on pace to notch one of the most productive campaigns with total scrimmage yards.
That has seen him tally more than 100 rushing yards six times, a rushing touchdown on nine occasions, more than 50 receiving yards six times and double-digit receptions on three occasions so far this season. McCaffrey has now added another impressive career mark to his NFL career.
Christian McCaffrey sets another NFL record
The 2019 season has a norm to see McCaffrey place himself in the NFL records on a weekly basis.
Carolina has continued to stumble over the last few weeks, but that hasn’t waned the high level of production throughout the process. According to NFL Research, McCaffrey has surpassed for San Francisco 49ers great Roger Craig for the most receiving yards by a running back in their first three seasons in the Super Bowl Era.
McCaffrey has been a bonafide dual-threat running back since entering the league, totaling more than 600 receiving yards in each of his first three campaigns while averaging 8.3 career yards per reception. It has helped him reach those marks with his great deal of involvement in the passing game as he’s on pace to pass 100 targets in as many seasons.
He has also notched at least 75 catches in each of his first three years, which has made him just the fifth running back to accomplish that feat alongside Craig, Le’Veon Bell, Larry Centers, Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
He has been the focal point of the Panthers’ offensive game plan that has given him significant opportunities to showcase his extraordinary ability in the passing game. What has been equally impressive is that not even Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson put up that type of production in his first three years, and McCaffrey still has four more games to add to his record-breaking total.
MVP chances still realistic?
Several other players have made strong cases for the MVP award that include Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Thomas, and Deshaun Watson. Jackson is currently viewed as the frontrunner for the honor as he led the Baltimore Ravens to their eighth straight win after edging out the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 action.
McCaffrey’s production has waned over the season, but what may wind up hurting his chances for the MVP award will be the Panthers’ struggles. The team has struggled to find any consistency over the last month, having dropped five out of the previous six games, including the last four straight contests.
If Carolina were to fail to reach the playoffs that could put a considerable dent in his case, especially with the likes of Jackson, Wilson, Rodgers, Thomas, and Watson, all headed towards the postseason. That puts the situation into the corner of McCaffrey having to put up a stellar final month of the season to have a realistic chance of earning the MVP award.
Nonetheless, that shouldn’t diminish how impressive of a season it has been for the Pro Bowler that has firmly established him as arguably the best running back in the league.