In his third season in the league, Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey has taken another significant step towards recognition as arguably one of the players in the league well beyond being a top pick from his draft class. It has seen McCaffrey elevate himself into the thick of the MVP conversation behind what has been a career-best campaign pace. He has added another impressive feat to his resume during Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Christian McCaffrey’s breakout 2019 season
Heading into the NFL, there were plenty of questions concerning whether McCaffrey could translate his success in college to the next level.
He has more than answered the bell as he has proven to be an elite dual-threat asset out of the backfield while being a workhorse option. McCaffrey has taken that to whole another plateau in 2019 as he has been one of the most productive backs in the league as he entered Sunday’s contest with 735 rushing yards and eight touchdowns along with 49 catches for 343 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
It put him on pace to notch 2,464 total scrimmage yards, which would be the second-most total scrimmage yards in a single season behind only Chris Johnson’s MVP season in 2009 (2,502). McCaffrey has added on to his MVP-caliber campaign with another impressive feat.
Christian McCaffrey joins Jim Brown…again
With each passing week, McCaffrey continues to rack up monster numbers behind his stellar production. That was once again the case in Week 9 action as he was the driving force for the Panthers guiding them comfortably ahead against the struggling Titans.
McCaffrey put his unique versatility on display as his huge performance against the Titans put him in rare company alongside Hall of Famer Jim Brown in NFL history.
It’s the second time this year that McCaffrey has joined Brown in the record books as the two are the only players with at least 175 scrimmage yards in four out of the team’s first five games of a season. Sunday’s game also marked his fifth 100 rushing yard performance, seventh game with at least one rushing touchdown, and fourth multi-touchdown effort.
On top of that, he tallied a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game for the third time this season, a mark that hasn’t been reached since former Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook did so nearly 11 years ago. During that 2008 campaign, Westbrook tallied that feat four times, which McCaffrey will have seven more games this season to tie or surpass it.
Beyond that, it only makes him a more viable candidate in the march towards the MVP award.
Christian McCaffrey in crowded MVP race
Throughout the first half of the season, McCaffrey has more than deservedly put his name in the mix to capture his first MVP award.
However, it’s a race that has become thick, with several other players making strong cases to earn the unique honor. Two-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers has thrust himself into the mix behind his strong play along with the Green Bay Packers holding one of the best marks, having won seven out of their first eight games played heading into Week 9.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has done much of the same on a career-best pace. Before Week 9 action, he was one pace to record 4,254 yards with 34 touchdowns to two interceptions, which would surpass Tom Brady’s all-time NFL regular-season record of 14 touchdowns to interceptions mark.
That’s also not forgetting the stellar play of Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has thrown 18 touchdown passes in the first nine games. It’s certainly a loaded field vying for the MVP award, but McCaffrey has continued to rack up a strong early stake for the honor.