Christian McCaffrey of Panthers joins Michael Thomas with 300 catches in first 3 seasons
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has been dynamic since entering the NFL in 2017. During Sunday’s contest versus the New Orleans Saints, McCaffrey joined his opponent, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, in becoming just the second player in league history to accrue 300 receptions over the first three seasons of a career.
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 29, 2019
McCaffrey, of course, is primarily a running back, which makes this statistic even more staggering. Entering Sunday’s contest, McCaffrey had totaled five games this year with double-digit receptions to his credit. With a particularly splendid second half versus the Saints, he would earn himself the esteemed honor of becoming just the third player in league history to have recorded both 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in the same season.
While Thomas has established himself as the preeminent pass catcher of his generation by linking up primarily with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, Christian McCaffrey has battled through a 2019 campaign that has seen a rotating cast of signal callers from Cam Newton to Kyle Allen to Will Grier. In addition to the damage that he sustains while rushing, Carolina also utilizes arguably football’s most explosive weapon to lead their passing attack as well.
The dynamic of the league has certainly shifted in the past few decades, allowing players like Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas to set records that were previously unattainable. There is seemingly nothing on the offensive end of the field that he seems unable to add to his list of myriad talents, and is set to enter 2020 as a perennial MVP candidate even as the Panthers came up short in their quest for the postseason.
McCaffrey wasn’t able to personally carry the Panthers into the playoffs, but it can also be said that his individual brilliance was recognized and appreciated, even as his team struggled in a season in which his head coach, Ron Rivera, was fired.