Sunday's game vs the Minnesota Vikings was a heartbreaker for Carolina Panther fans as the team fell short by allowing a last minute touchdown after previously leading by double digits earlier in the 4th quarter. The Panthers scored two defensive touchdowns and struggled to do anything offensively, which is a big reason why they fell to 4-8.
Anytime you score twice defensively, you have to like your chances to win the game. Unfortunately, when the offensive line is shaky and Teddy Bridgewater doesn't have his best game, it puts you in some trouble. Running back Mike Davis ran pretty hard going for 55 yards on 15 carries but his longest run of the day was his first carry of the game, which went for 10 yards. Carolina lacked explosiveness in the running game which continues to be a trend when Christian McCaffrey is not able to play. I'm not saying the Panthers would have won with McCaffrey, but the offensive struggles would not be as glaring with him on the field. He can do so much in both the running game and passing game, and probably could have helped Bridgewater tremendously on screens or throws out to the flat.
Not only do the Panthers need McCaffrey back on the field to be more successful, but this is the leader of the offense. I know, Teddy Bridgewater is viewed as such since he's the quarterback, but McCaffrey is clearly the best player on the roster and everyone has his respect. Not saying they don't respect Teddy, but McCaffrey is one of the longest tenured players on the team and knows what it takes for this team to have success.
Let's face it, the Panthers' roster is not good enough, at least right now, to overcome McCaffrey missing nine games. For this team to win they need him out there, but fully healthy of course. With a 4-8 record, it might not be a bad idea to just put him on the shelf for the rest of the season and return 100% next season because you don't want him banged up going into 2021.
I've seen some fans concerned about his future and whether or not it was worth throwing $64 million his way since he's a running back. Well, I think you're starting to see why the Panthers gave him that fat check when you see what the offense is like without him. It struggles to find efficiency, stalls out way too much in the red zone, and loses confidence as the game goes on. McCaffrey is worth every penny the Panthers gave him and even as young and inexperienced as this team is, he probably would have helped them to a few more wins had he not missed nine games.
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