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Christian McCaffrey off to slow start Week 1 vs. Browns

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is off to a slow start against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are taking on the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. This game is big because new Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield is getting his “revenge” game against his former team. A casualty of a potentially amped-up Mayfield is the disappearance of star running back Christian McCaffrey from the offensive game plan.

The Panthers are either trying to give Mayfield the chance to make a statement or are trying to reduce the hits that McCaffrey takes. Either way, McCaffrey has been devoid of involvement through the first 17 minutes of the game. He had the most productive play of the Carolina offense so far, but it was called back for holding. Without that potential 17-yard gain, McCaffrey’s stat line looks bleak. He has two carries for eight yards but then one reception for negative five yards.

CMC isn’t hurt, and he certainly isn’t benched. After the defense gave up a horrible DPI call in the endzone to set up an easy Cleveland touchdown, the Panthers will have to go back to basics and put the ball in McCaffrey’s hands.