Deep dive into Christian McCaffrey’s sensational Week 9 return

(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey in the run game

Having Christian McCaffrey in the lineup is always going to make the Carolina Panthers a better team. Mike Davis played well stepping into the breach when the former first-round pick went down with a high ankle sprain, but few can match the influence provided by No. 22 on a consistent basis.

The Panthers were never going to risk McCaffrey until he was as close to 100 percent as possible. Ankles injuries such as this are always precarious and could go again at any time are not fully healed. But given the player’s level of production, it’s safe to say he was just fine.

As expected, McCaffrey was involved early and often. Even with the Chiefs stacking the box on almost every early-down, the Stanford product was still able to find the holes needed to make a real difference.

This included some nice runs for double-digit yardage, which was a further indication of McCaffrey’s desire to make an impression upon his return. Although they’ve been criticized for some inconsistencies in recent weeks, the offensive line deserves a tremendous amount of credit for giving the running back plenty of space to work in.

McCaffrey finished the game with 69 rushing yards and one touchdown from 18 carries. This also included a 3.8 yards-per-carry average and a game-long of 13 yards.

Solid, if not spectacular. But exactly what the Panthers needed.