CHARLOTTE - Christian McCaffrey has more receptions this season than any running back in NFL history and more than any player in Panthers history. He also has more catches - 106 - than his father, Ed, had in his career season.
"He's going to come back with having three Super Bowls – he's got me there," McCaffrey said. "I'm lucky that they throw me the ball a lot, and it's my job to make those catches."
McCaffrey caught 12 balls for 77 yards - the fourth career game for the second-year back with double-digits receptions - in the Panthers' home finale Sunday, a 24-10 loss to the Falcons that officially ended Carolina's already thin playoff hopes.
It hasn't been a good season for the team but it has been a special one individually for McCaffrey. Sunday, he surpassed Matt Forte's 102 catches in 2014 for the Bears for the running back record and Steve Smith's 103 in 2005 for the Panthers' record. He now has 186 career catches, also a new Panthers record for a running back (DeAngelo Williams caught 178).
McCaffrey's father, Ed, caught 101 passes for the Broncos in 2000.
"At the end of the day, I just want to win. All that other stuff is great, but there's nothing like winning," McCaffrey said. "It's a tough sport and it's not always good to you, but you've got to stay poised through the good and bad."
McCaffrey rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries, his fourth career 100-yard rushing game. That gave him 1,080 rushing yards this season, the sixth 1,000-yard rushing season in franchise history.
He became the third player in NFL history, joining Forte and LaDainian Tomlinson, to record at least 100 receptions and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.
McCaffrey recorded 178 scrimmage yards in the game, his 10th game with at least 100 scrimmage yards and eighth in a row. He now has 1,925 scrimmage yards this season, a franchise record. He needs 75 yards in Week 17 to become the 10th player in NFL history with 2,000 scrimmage yards in his first or second season.