INSIDE SLANT

Running back DeShaun Foster said he knew deep inside he had a game like this in him. He just didn't know when it would come.   "Coming off last season I just wanted to show I could still play football," said Foster, who missed all of his rookie year with a knee injury. "And, I got my opportunity this weekend."

Running back DeShaun Foster said he knew deep inside he had a game like this in him. He just didn't know when it would come.
   "Coming off last season I just wanted to show I could still play football," said Foster, who missed all of his rookie year with a knee injury. "And, I got my opportunity this weekend."

   With starter Stephen Davis sidelined in the second half with a bruised right forearm, Foster ran for a career-high 85 yards and caught two passes for 54 yards to help the Panthers defeat the Indianapolis Colts 23-20 in overtime.

   Foster came up big in overtime, rushing four times for 26 yards. The biggest carry came on a first down play from the Colts' 44-yard line in which he turned the corner and raced 12 yards around the end to get the Panthers into field goal range for John Kasay, who won the game with a 47-yarder.

   Together, Davis and Foster combined to run for 169 of Carolina's 189 yards.

   "A lot of people are in trouble now. We're a two-headed monster now," Davis said.

   However, on Monday coach John Fox said he doesn't plan on changing his approach to the team's offense and that Davis will still be the primary ball carrier when the Panthers face Tennessee. Fox doesn't want to get into a situation where he's splitting carries between two backs.

   Foster will continue to be used to spell Davis, although with his solid performance on Sunday he could get a few more carries than in the first four weeks of the season.

   Fox expects Davis will play this week after x-rays on his forearm were negative.

   "He looks like he will be pretty positive to be able to play this week," Fox said.

   Foster said he doesn't plan on taking Davis' job, but believes he's earned more playing time.

   He's not the only one.

   "Honestly, I think we have three quality backs," said guard Kevin Donnalley. "We're going to have 40 of 45 carries between those guys. Stephen is so strong and DeShaun is so quick and Rod (Smart) is kind of blend between the two. They complement each other very nicely. It's a great mix."

   Fox said Foster is looking better with each passing week.

   "We obviously had great feelings about his talent level and we were very cautious coming into training camp with him," Fox said. "He is just now getting into football shape."

 

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