Mid-week notes - 1-4-06

If only DeShaun Foster could play against the Atlanta Falcons every week. For the second time this season, Foster eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark against the Falcons, rushing for a season-high 165 yards on 18 carries. Foster ran for 131 yards on 24 carries in a 24-6 win over the Falcons on Dec. 4, accounting for Carolina's only two 100-yard rushing performances this season.

He had 107 yards rushing in the first half alone Sunday.

Foster's big day was highlighted by a franchise-record, 70-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter, eclipsing the previous long of 67 yards set by Tshimanga Biakabutuka on Sept. 26, 1999.

Foster now owns the two longest runs in team history, the other being a 71-yard run against Kansas City early last season, although that run did not go for a touchdown.

"DeShaun has been waiting in the wings for us for a while now," coach John Fox said, "and he's answered the bell quite a few times for us. He came up big for us. I think our offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks, the blocking element of our football team, played very well."

* * *

--What do Jake Delhomme and Janet Jackson have in common? How about a wardrobe malfunction?

In the first quarter of Sunday's game, a cleat from Atlanta linebacker Keith Brooking's shoe tore open a hole in the seat of Delhomme's pants after a sack.

"I stuck my hand behind and I felt a little air back there and I was like, 'Something's wrong,'" Delhomme said with a laugh after the game. "The first thing I did was look at (Chris) Weinke and say, 'You've got to go in. I've got to put some pants on.'"

The Panthers were forced to burn a timeout, and while the television broadcast went to a commercial break trainers, stuck a towel down the back of Delhomme's pants and taped it up as a temporary solution.

After returning to the field to complete a touchdown drive, Delhomme ran over to the sideline, whereupon the trainers and equipment staff gathered around him with towels as he discreetly attempted to change into a new pair of pants.

"We will be talking about this for a long time," Delhomme said. "I will be in football history forever, there's no doubt. Not for anything I ever did, but for my pants."

Panthers equipment manager Jackie Miles said he's never seen anything like it in his 14 seasons in the NFL.

"I've had to change a jersey or two, but pants? That's a new experience," Mills said with a chuckle.

Mills said he normally packs up to three extra pairs of uniforms for quarterbacks and kickers.

The good news for Delhomme is he was able to laugh about it afterward.

In actuality, he's the one who undressed the Falcons defense, throwing for two touchdowns in Carolina's 44-11 win at the Georgia Dome.

"It's funny," Delhomme said. "I even laughed about it. It happens, and I just happened to be a part of it."

Most NFL players only wear a jock strap underneath their uniform pants, but Delhomme said he might be part of a new trend.

"I might have to start wearing a girdle underneath," Delhomme said. "I never do, but I might have to start."

* * *

--Steve Smith, who will be headed to Honolulu after the season to represent the Panthers in the Pro Bowl, celebrated a 42-yard touchdown reception from Jake Delhomme with a hula dance in the end zone.

Actually, Smith had done the dance a few minutes earlier when it appeared he'd scored on a 6-yard touchdown reception, but that play was overturned by a replay challenge and Smith was ruled down by contact.

* * *

--Linebacker Chris Draft started in Dan Morgan's place, as he did in last month's game against the Falcons, and he came up with a big play against his former team, forcing an Alge Crumpler fumble near the end of the first half that led to a 41-yard field goal by John Kasay.

Draft later recovered a muffed punt by returner Michael Jenkins in the third quarter, setting up another score.

* * *

--Earlier this year, the Panthers snapped a five-game losing streak against Michael Vick. On Sunday, they ended a seven-game losing streak at the Georgia Dome.

"There has been a lot of history that has been plaguing us since we've been coming down here," Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker said. "It will be nice that we don't have to talk about that anymore. But I guess next time we play them, there might be something else."

* * *

--LB Dan Morgan did not play Sunday because of a lingering shoulder injury. Morgan, who signed a five-year, $28 million contact extension before the season, has missed three full games this year and parts of four others. He's now missed 25 games during his five-year career with Carolina and had to leave at least a dozen others prematurely.

* * *

--QB Jake Delhomme played extremely well against Atlanta. He needed a game like that going into the postseason.

* * *

--WR Steve Smith led the NFL in receiving yards and tied for first in receptions and receiving touchdowns.

* * *

--K John Kasay has now made his last two kicks from beyond 40 yards.

* * *

--DB Jermaine Hardy, who was activated to the 53-man roster just two weeks ago, was the only player listed by coach John Fox as having suffered an injury on Sunday. Hardy injured his hamstring.

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