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Panthers wrapup: McCaffrey makes successful return but is there a new, different injury to be worried about?

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 33-31 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday that dropped the team to 3-6 overall:

… Christian McCaffrey made a successful return to action after missing six games with an ankle sprain. McCaffrey rushed 18 times for 69 yards and one touchdown and caught 10 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. The bad news? McCaffrey was receiving treatment on his right shoulder/collar bone area after a late-game tackle and didn’t talk to media after the game. Panthers officials did say he would be made available to the media on Monday.

… The Panthers loss came in a contest in which the team continues a daunting task of opposing quarterbacks. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes means Carolina has played six of its first nine games against quarterbacks who were either NFL MVP or Super Bowl MVP; The others were Tom Brady, Matt Ryan (twice), Nick Foles and Drew Brees. The Panthers could play three more games against that type of quarterback – next week against Brady again, Dec. 19 of 20 against Aaron Rodgers and Jan. 3 against Brees again.

… Carolina’s 30 first downs were the most by the Panthers in a single game since they also had 30 first downs in a 45-21 home win over the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 5, 2017.

… The 30 yards rushing allowed tied for sixth-best in franchise history and was the first time holding an opponent to less than 30 yards rushing since yielding 29 in a 26-15 win at Washington on Dec. 19, 2016.

… The Panthers’ opening drive that lasted eight minutes and 53 seconds and resulted in a touchdown was the franchise’s longest offensive drive since Week 7 of the 2017 season.

… You have to think Panthers kicker Joey Slye is going to nail one of these really long field goals at some point. In the 27-24 loss at New Orleans on Oct. 25, his potential-tying 65-yarder was one yard shy. And in Sunday’s loss, his 67-yard game-winning attempt on the last play had the distance but sailed wide right.

Next week:
Carolina hosts Tampa Bay, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m.