CHARLOTTE – Christian McCaffrey's 2019 season is getting more special by the week.
He was the best player on the field Sunday against the Titans, producing a 166-yard, three-touchdown performance with the Panthers in serious need of a bounce-back win following a blowout loss at San Francisco.
"I've definitely tried to step in as a leader," McCaffrey said after Carolina's 30-20 win. "For me, it's doing my part, showing up and holding myself accountable to my teammates and doing my job to the best of my ability."
In other words, McCaffrey balled out. Again.
It was his sixth game of the first eight with at least 150 scrimmage yards. Only Jim Brown (1963) and Matt Forte (2011) have done that.
"What more can be said? Obviously he's had a huge impact, and that's probably an understatement," tight end Greg Olsen said of McCaffrey.
"He's just fun to watch," linebacker Luke Kuechly added. "What he's able to do with the ball in his hands, it's special."
It was special from the start for Carolina's star running back.
He was the last starter introduced, an honor typically reserved for injured quarterback Cam Newton. The crowd roared when his named was announced.
"That was a really cool honor," McCaffrey said. "I was really appreciative of that."
Then the game got underway and McCaffrey went to work. His 7-yard touchdown catch on fourth-and-2 got the ball rolling. Then he added two more scores in the second half – a 1-yard plunge and a 58-yard scamper straight up the middle that was the true backbreaker.
Then came the chorus of "MVP" chants from the Bank of America Stadium crowd.
"M-V-P, M-V-P, M-V-P! When you hear the crowd shouting it, it's amazing," safety Tre Boston said. "The way he plays, the way he practices, day in, day out, game in, game out, it's amazing. It's truly amazing."
After the game, Titans running back Derrick Henry wrote "MVP!" on the jersey he swapped with McCaffrey. Then McCaffrey caught up with a bunch of Carolina Hurricanes who were in town for the game. Of course, they were all decked out in McCaffrey jerseys, which led to some laughs.
"I love hockey so seeing them all wear my jersey was funny," McCaffrey said. "The guys were all giving me some slack on the sidelines saying it was a bunch of me – whites dudes with blonde hair. But it was cool, that meant a lot."
There's a reason all the Canes wanted to wear McCaffrey jerseys.
Everyone -- hockey players, football fans, the opposing team -- is a little in awe of what he's doing on the field.
"The man is the heart and soul of our offense," quarterback Kyle Allen said, "heart and soul of our team."