4 key observations from Christian McCaffrey’s performance vs. 49ers

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Christian McCaffrey
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Christian McCaffrey excelled in the open field

Coming up against the San Francisco 49ers’ defense is a tall task for any team. Much less one going through the severe complications unfolding within the Carolina Panthers.

Christian McCaffrey was their focal point and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans set his stall out to limit his influence in all phases. On the rare occasions that he got into the open field, there was a lot to like about the player’s elusiveness in the face of one of the league’s most prolific run defenses.

McCaffrey’s explosiveness and ability to make people miss remain elite traits to call upon. Something that was evident when the former first-round pick turned a fourth-down conversion attempt into a morale-boosting touchdown.

The scheme also drew up some nice moments – albeit fleeting – when it came to getting McCaffrey in space with the football in his hands. Had the distribution been more consistent from Baker Mayfield, the numbers would have looked much better.

There is nothing McCaffrey can do about that, in all honesty. He’s fighting harder than most to get Carolina out of its current slump, but even a player this talented cannot do it alone.

Unfortunately, therein lies the problem. Until the likes of Mayfield live up to their end of the bargain, this offense will continue to be a real weak link despite the presence of McCaffrey and a much improved offensive line.