Christian McCaffrey had 120 yards from scrimmage in the first half, including a 71-yard touchdown run and the Carolina Panthers defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-20 Friday night in a preseason game.
McCaffrey had 92 yards rushing on five carries and caught four passes for 28 yards for Carolina (2-0).
Cam Newton overcame an early interception and two sacks by Robert Quinn to finish 9 of 12 for 89 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to speedy rookie tight end Ian Thomas to give Carolina a 13-9 lead before exiting near the end of the first half.
Ryan Tannehill was an effective 14 of 17 for 100 yards despite playing without wide receivers DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, but Miami (0-2) struggled to finish drives and settled for three field goals in the first half. Kenyan Drake had 54 yards rushing on eight carries.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera recently said he wants to get McCaffrey “25-30 touches” per game this season, and the second-year back’s TD run on Carolina’s second play from scrimmage was a good example of why.
McCaffrey slipped through the line behind a nice block by guard Greg Van Roten and then shifted to another gear outracing several defenders to the end zone.
It’s the type of big play the Panthers were missing from McCaffrey last season. His longest carry went for 40 yards in 2017, which is one of the reasons offensive coordinator Norv Turner was brought in to replace Mike Shula.
Thomas could be Carolina’s next big producer on offense.
The 260-pound Thomas showed impressive speed catching a pass from Newton on a crossing route and turning up the right sideline with a head of steam and racing to the end zone untouched.
Miami’s only touchdown came with 29 seconds left when fourth-string quarterback Bryce Petty scored on a 15-yard run.
Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson took a knee and Quinn held up his right hand during the national anthem. Last week in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay, Wilson kneeled and Quinn stood and raised his right fist.
HANGING OUT WITH FANS
New Panthers owner David Tepper tailgated outside the stadium with fans prior to his first home game. Tepper, who bought the team from Jerry Richardson for $2.2 billion earlier this summer, was seen out and about with fans wearing shorts, a Panthers golf shirt and sneakers while enjoying a beverage . That’s a stark contrast from the straight-laced Richardson, who regularly wore slacks and dress shirts to games.
Dolphins: Frank Gore had been expected to see his first action of the preseason, but the Dolphins declared him a healthy scratch.
Panthers: Starting safety Da’Norris Searcy suffered a concussion after delivering a vicious hit on Drake near the sideline. Searcy was flagged for lowering his head and the Dolphins picked up a first down on the play. … Rookie guard Brandon Mahon left the game with a calf injury.
Dolphins: Host the Ravens on Aug. 25.
Panthers: Host the New England Patriots on Aug. 24.