Panthers Lose McCaffrey & Game


Any success that the Carolina Panthers hope to have this season might rest on the health of running back Christian McCaffrey's right ankle.

The All-Pro running back limped off the field with an ankle injury following his second touchdown of the day against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 13:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and did not return.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported after the game that McCaffrey will receive an MRI on Monday for more information.

Head coach Matt Rhule didn't have an update on McCaffrey's status following the game but said McCaffrey pulled himself out for a play early in the game, but wasn't sure if it was related.

Looking back on tape, McCaffrey took himself out on third down with 7:38 remaining in the second quarter. Running back Mike Davis took the snap leading to fourth down and a punt.

McCaffrey's touchdown cut Tampa Bay's lead to 21-14 after holding a 21-0 advantage, but a Teddy Bridgewater interception combined with McCaffrey's injury shifted the momentum back to the Buccaneers, who went on to win 31-17.

"It's always tough when you don't have one of your best players on the field," Bridgewater said. "Our guys did a great job at stepping. It was good to see Mike Davis make some plays but whenever one of your best players is not out there it's always unfortunate."

Any amount of time without McCaffrey would be a huge blow to the Panthers, who have now lost 10-straight games dating back to last season.

Last season, McCaffrey became the third player ever to have 1,000 rushing and receiving yards and played in at least 92 percent of the team's offensive snaps in each of the last two seasons. Last week versus the Las Vegas Raiders, McCaffrey played in 97 percent of the offensive snaps.

If McCaffrey were to miss anytime, running back Mike Davis would step in. Davis finished with one carry for 1 yard and eight receptions for 74 yards on Sunday.

In 50 career games, McCaffrey has never missed a game.

McCaffrey's injury was just one of a plethora of injuries around the NFL during a brutal Sunday.