The Carolina Panthers appeared to be trending in the right direction after deciding to bring back Cam Newton. With Sam Darnold on the shelf, the return of Newton was meant to give this team a jolt. Since then, the Panthers have dropped two games and have been dealt another massive blow regarding star running back Christian McCaffrey.
After a surprising 3-0 start to the season, the Panthers sit at 5-7 and are fighting against themselves to get a playoff spot.
The Panthers dealt another injury blow to star running back Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey already missed time earlier this season and is out for the remainder of the season after going to IR for the second time.
This is a devastating blow for the Panthers, especially after losing two straight and watching Cam struggle immensely against the Miami Dolphins.
Now, McCaffrey is out for the season, making rookie Chuba Hubbard the lead back and putting even more pressure on Newton to right the ship.
McCaffrey’s season ends with just seven games and 442 yards rushing with one score. He did add 343 yards through the receiving game and another score, but all in all, just another unfortunate chapter in McCaffrey’s long list of injuries.
The Panthers need Cam Newton to step up if they want to sneak into the playoffs
Newton played poorly against the Dolphins. Newton’s performance was historically bad on Sunday. After scoring three touchdowns in his first start against Washington a week before, Newton got into the endzone just once — on a 1-yard rush in the fourth quarter.
That would be the only Panthers touchdown of the game in a discouraging effort all around.
The Panthers took a massive risk bringing Newton on board and doubled down by paying him a bizarre amount of money for just a short stint. Games such as that one aren’t going to do him or the Panthers any favors, either.
Now, McCaffrey is out, and the Panthers only hope of stealing a playoff spot rest on the arm and legs of Newton.
Can he respond and find a way to lead this team to victory? In his two starts, the Panthers are 0-2 and still face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice, the Buffalo Bills, and the New Orleans Saints on the other side of the bye week.
Matt Rhule has to find a way to get back to winning football games with McCaffrey out once again
Matt Rhule’s job continues to get harder and harder. Darnold started the year on fire before fizzling quickly. Then PJ Walker was inserted into the lineup, only to have Newton join the team and become the starter.
Now, McCaffrey is out once again and Hubbard becomes the lead back. The rookie has played well, totaling 427 yards and three scores through 12 games and becoming a surprising factor in the passing game.
However, he still needs to develop chemistry with Newton, and Rhule and the Panthers coaching staff will have a long two weeks as they try to find answers.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference