CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Christian McCaffrey tied a career high with 237 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns, Brian Burns returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown and had a strip-sack in the fourth quarter, and the Carolina Panthers held on to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-27 on Sunday for their third straight win.
McCaffrey set a franchise record with an 84-yard TD run and scored on a 5-yard run when he somersaulted into the end zone. He also caught an 18-yard TD pass from Kyle Allen before leaving with five minutes remaining after cramping up.
But McCaffrey’s seldom-used replacement Reggie Bonnafon had a 59-yard touchdown run to put Carolina (3-2) up by seven with 3:34 left.
Carolina’s defense thwarted Jacksonville’s final two scoring drives when Burns sacked rookie Gardner Minshew to force a turnover and Luke Kuechly batted down a pass on the game’s final play.
Minshew finished 26 of 45 for 374 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for the Jaguars (2-3). Leonard Fournette had 23 carries for 108 yards and a score.
It was the fourth time this season McCaffrey has recorded at least 175 yards from scrimmage. McCaffrey’s latest big day put the third-year running back on pace for 2,771 yards from scrimmage, which would shatter the NFL single-season record of 2,509 yards set by Tennessee’s Chris Johnson in 2009.
McCaffrey has shown a flare for the dramatic after a juggling one-handed catch last week against Houston.
On Sunday, he took control on the game’s first drive. On one play, he stiff-armed a Jaguars defender, then juked out another on the next play and finally somersaulted in the end zone on a third play after getting flipped into the air.
Allen improved to 3-0 as Carolina’s starter and became the first undrafted NFL quarterback to win his first four career starts since Kurt Warner.
HALL OF HONOR
The Panthers inducted four former players into the Hall of Honor at halftime: quarterback Jake Delhomme, wide receiver Steve Smith, tight end Wesley Walls and offensive tackle Jordan Gross.
Smith received the biggest ovation and during his speech said he never thought he’d wear a Panthers jersey again. Then, he paused and ripped off his ceremonial Panthers blue jacket to reveal his No. 89 jersey underneath as the crowd cheered. Smith then turned to Panthers owner David Tepper and said, “Make sure nobody wears that jersey again.”
Delhomme called the honor the greatest sporting day of his life.
Jaguars: TE James O’Shaughnessy left in the third quarter with a knee injury and did not return.
Panthers: LB Christian Miller and gunner Natrell Jameson left with ankle injuries and did not return.
Jaguars: Host Saints next Sunday.
Panthers: Face Buccaneers in London, England, next Sunday.
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