Christian McCaffrey was noticeably distraught following the Panthers’ loss on Sunday.
The MVP candidate sat with his head in his hands in the locker room after he was stopped just short of the end zone as time expired in a 24-16 loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field.
A brief replay review upheld the call.
“I don’t know. It’s tough to see when my head’s not facing straight,” McCaffrey said of the final play. “You’ve just got to get in those situations and give ourselves a shot, and I didn’t get it.”
McCaffrey entered the day as the league leader in rushing yards per game, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns and yards from scrimmage. The third-year running back finished Sunday with a relatively quiet 108 yards and a score on 20 carries and 33 yards on six catches. It was his lowest output since Week 6 at Tampa.
The Packers’ leaky defense entered the day allowing the third-most rushing yards, second-most touchdowns and the fifth-most receptions to the running back position this season. But a week after getting torched by Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles, Green Bay set out to at least contain McCaffrey.
“Yeah, you know whenever you’re playing a talented player like that, he’s going to get his yards,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “The whole key is try to contain him as best you can because he’s one of the elite players in this league. I thought our guys, there were moments where we were giving up some big plays. There was a lot of bend within our defense, but I thought we stiffened up again in the red zone and we made some plays.”
Green Bay kept McCaffrey out of the end zone on the last two plays of the Panthers’ final drive. Outside of an 18-yard run and an 11-yard reception, McCaffrey was limited to small gains and had to work for every yard.
McCaffrey is no longer dominating the field. He ended the night tied with Packers running back Aaron Jones in both total touchdowns (14) and rushing touchdowns (11).
“We all know that Christian is a very talented player, and he’s been mentioned in the MVP race. So maybe it’s time to start talking about Aaron Jones,” Aaron Rodgers said.
McCaffrey has to quickly put Sunday night behind him with a matchup against division-rival Atlanta next week.
“You’ve just got to move on, you’ve got to get better this week,” he said.
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