CHARLOTTE – Is Christian McCaffrey in the midst of the best season by a running back in Panthers history?
He’s well on his way.
Through 11 games, McCaffrey has totaled 1,365 yards from scrimmage – currently the fourth highest total in the NFL. He’s been equally dynamic in the run game and the pass game.
McCaffrey has 757 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also leads the team with 71 receptions for 608 yards and five touchdowns. Oh, and he’s playing 97 percent of snaps this season – the most among NFL running backs.
He’s coming off a game against the Seahawks in which he posted 100-plus rushing and receiving yards – something that hadn’t ever been done in team history.
McCaffrey is rewriting the Panthers’ record book for receiving by a running back and he’s on pace to set a new franchise record for total scrimmage yards in a single season.
But there are two other candidates for the title of “best season by a Panthers running back,” and whether or not Carolina (6-5) qualifies for the postseason will play a part in how McCaffrey’s dazzling 2018 season is remembered.
DeAngelo Williams, 2008
Williams established a single-season franchise rushing record that still stands when he compiled 1,515 yards in 2008, when Carolina went 12-4 before falling the Divisional Round. He ran for over 100 yards in seven of the Panthers' last nine games.
Williams also totaled an amazing 18 rushing touchdowns (a franchise record) while adding two scoring receptions for 20 total touchdowns (also a franchise record). His receiving numbers were 22 catches for 121 yards, giving him a 1,636 total yards from scrimmage, another franchise record.
Stephen Davis, 2003
Davis, a traditional workhorse running back, rushed for 1,444 yards and found the end zone eight times in 2003, his first year with the Panthers after seven seasons with Washington. That stood as the franchise rushing record before Williams surpassed it.
Davis was the physical tone-setter, averaging more than 100 yards a game on the ground for a team that advanced to the franchise’s first Super Bowl.