CHARLOTTE – With the way Carolina's season has gone – and with the way the game in Atlanta unfolded – many observers wondered why someone like Christian McCaffrey was still on the field late in the game.
"As competitors, those guys don't want to leave the field," interim head coach Perry Fewell said after the 40-20 loss to the Falcons. "So that decision really comes from us as athletes, as competitors, that we are going to fight till the very end. That's what factors into that decision."
Here's what McCaffrey told reporters after the game.
"I want to play football," McCaffrey said.
And McCaffrey wasn't just out there going through the motions as game neared its conclusion.
The Panthers sideline took notice.
"I make mistakes just like everybody else, but I can promise you I'll always give 100 percent effort," McCaffrey said. "I'll stand on that."
If Fewell needed some examples to illustrate for the team the kind of effort he's looking for, he needed to look no further than three plays McCaffrey made during Carolina's final possession, which ended with Kyle Allen sneaking for a touchdown.
Take another look for yourself.
First, McCaffrey trucks cornerback Jordan Miller and has something to say about it.
Next, McCaffrey runs through safety Jamal Carter before four Falcons combine to bring him down.
And lastly, cornerback Kendall Sheffield feels the full force of the McCaffrey stiff arm.
McCaffrey recorded 135 scrimmage yards against Atlanta, marking his seventh consecutive game with 100-plus scrimmage yards and his eleventh such game of the season overall.
Oh, and McCaffrey, who had 11 catches versus the Falcons, now has eight career games with at least 10 receptions, the most by any running back in NFL history.