It really is quite amazing how the Carolina Panthers have saved their season in recent weeks. The turnaround has centered around an improving defense, Christian McCaffrey, and a previously unknown quarterback, Kyle Allen, who has stepped in for the often-injured Cam Newton.
The Panthers won their third straight game last Sunday by topping Jacksonville, 34-27. The victory meant that Allen became the first undrafted quarterback to start his career with four straight wins since Hall of Famer Kurt Warner in 1999.
While Allen continued to play virtually errorless football, McCaffrey was clearly the focal point of Carolina’s offense. Like Allen, McCaffrey found his name linked to a Hall of Famer. With 237 total yards, he became the first player since Jim Brown in 1963 to total 175-plus yards from scrimmage in four of a season’s first five games.
McCaffrey’s 866 total in five games is second all time through the first five games, behind Brown’s 988 in 1963 and ahead of O.J. Simpson’s 861 in 1973. McCaffrey is the fifth player in NFL history to have more than 800 yards from scrimmage in his first five games.
Allen’s journey to tying Warner’s 4-0 start began in last year’s season finale at New Orleans. Warner went on to lead the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl. It gets reported weekly that Allen is just keeping Newton’s spot warm until the former MVP’s injury is healed, but each win makes it less important to rush Newton back. I mean, how could a franchise sit a quarterback down who has yet to lose a game?
Allen, while not spectacular, has managed each game well. He has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions during his streak, including five touchdowns this season.
McCaffrey, on the other hand, has been spectacular. He is having an MVP season. McCaffrey entered the game with an NFL-best 411 yards rushing and proceeded to add to his numbers. He had 176 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries to go with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
Will He Or Won’t He?
A giant rift has been growing between the NBA and China this past week. It centers around the current conflict between Hong Kong citizens and the Chinese government.
It began when the owner of the Houston Rockets supported Hong Kong and questioned how China suppresses the people.
The Chinese government did not like the comment and let the NBA know it. You might be wondering how the NBA got in the middle of this political battle. Follow the money.
James is Nike’s most compensated and most recognized pitchman, and Nike does big business in China. In the most recent quarter, Nike’s Great China revenue increased by 22% to almost $1.7 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. In early 2016, not long after James signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike reported to be worth $1 billion, he had made 12 trips to China for Nike, according to cleveland.com.
James has been silent on the issue thus far. But he is visiting China this week and is likely to be peppered with questions.
Will James call out the government or stay quiet toward a nation that writes large checks to him? He speaks of supporting free speech (in America at least). James talks of believing in a free and open society.
These are all rights that the Hong Kong people are fighting and rallying for. If LeBron does not address these issues, he will look like a sellout.