I’d imagine you won’t be surprised to find out that Christian McCaffrey played 100% of the offensive snaps.
As he racked up 184 yards – the fourth-highest total on the ground in franchise history – on 28 carries, McCaffrey was on the field for every single offensive play, creating diversions that helped open holes and seams for other players – all four of the Panthers’ touchdowns on Sunday came after some sort of fake to the second-year back that is a foundation of the Norv Turner offense.
“We ran the ball extremely well, I didn’t realize how well we ran it until I got a chance to take a look at [the tape],” said Ron Rivera. “Some really good blocks up front, I thought the guys were doing some tremendous things; I thought Christian showed his ability to run the ball inside and outside and show great burst and quickness through the holes. The quarterback continues to be very efficient and I’m very pleased about that; for the most part, a lot of good things.”
One of the reasons they were able to run was the blocking downfield from their tight ends and wide receivers – rookie Ian Thomas again took on a big load with Greg Olsen still out, albeit less than the 96% he played on against Atlanta; Chris Manhertz saw a huge jump in snaps – after only playing 18% in Week 2, he was on the field for 58% of the snaps this week, sometimes as the only tight end.
After Turner and Rivera both promised we would see more of DJ Moore, that was indeed the case as Moore outsnapped Jarius Wright this week, but only saw two targets and had his only catch on a swing pass. CJ Anderson continues to make the most of his few touches, handling the ball every time he was on the field and scoring a touchdown on one of his three snaps – with McCaffrey taking on the bellcow role, Ron Rivera commented after the game on the ’21 Ponys’ personnel grouping that featured both backs; that obviously was only the case on three plays.
On the defensive side of the ball, Colin Jones took the bulk of the snaps at safety opposite Mike Adams; after saying that the team would rotate three men through two spots, Adams saw all but four of the snaps and Rashaan Gaulden saw most of his 22 snaps later in the game.
“The safeties are playing very well,” said Rivera, defending the criticisms circling around the separation Tyler Boyd had from Jones on the final touchdown of the game. “A lot of people want to blame the safeties on the last touchdown, but they scrambled. There’s a certain play, when a guy’s scrambling around that to ask guys to plaster, it’s going to be difficult – especially on crossing routes. I think that whole unit has done well for us.”
Julius Peppers also had more snaps than last week as promised, although the larger story on the defensive line – you may have heard – was Efe Obada and his game on only 19 snaps with an interception, a sack and almost a forced fumble that was overturned after a replay review. Interesting that Wes Horton saw his snaps decrease so precipitously after staying on the field for 75% of the snaps – those snaps that he lost seemed to be split between Peppers and Bryan Cox, Jr as the Panthers utilized a five-man rotation at defensive end.
Check out the full snap count chart below:
|Name||Position||Offensive Snaps||Percentage||Defensive Snaps||Percentage||Special Teams Snap||Percentage|
|G Van Roten||G||67||100%||5||19%|