ST. LOUIS -- DeShaun Foster and his supporters have always maintained this would happen.
Sunday, Foster did enough for the Panthers to win, and enough to become the franchise's all-time leading rusher in the team's 27-13 win at St. Louis.
"It's good. You always want to be the all-time something," Foster said with a laugh. "It was a good thing, now you just want to keep adding on top of it."
That his 17-carry, 94-yard day moved him to 2,554 yards (past Tshimanga Biakabutuka's 2,530) puts the career in context. That he did it in what could stand as the rebirth of the Panthers running game makes it a bit more meaningful.
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He led the Panthers to a 186-yard day as a team, showing the kind of pop on the ground they've been promising under new coordinator Jeff Davidson. The Panthers improved to 20-2 when Foster carries at least 15 times in a game, but the fact it's taken him until the first game of his sixth season to get the 22nd such occurrence speaks to his career.
Even when accepting good news, Foster was looking for something wooden to knock on (his locker fit the bill), because his career has been defined by an odd collection of injuries as much as his highlight-reel runs.
"I knew eventually, one day it would happen," Foster said. "I was just thinking of being healthy and playing. Hopefully, I can just keep healthy and keep it going."
If he can, the Panthers appear to have a solid combination of runners. Backup DeAngelo Williams added 62 yards (55 of them coming in the fourth quarter), providing some quick shots late to knock the Rams to the canvas.
"There weren't always super-big holes for them to hit, but they hit it downhill," right tackle Jordan Gross said.
Bottom line, they wore down the Rams over the course of the day, fulfilling their half of John Fox's run/stop-the-run credo.
The Panthers held more than an eight-minute edge in possession, keeping it for 19:59 in the second half.
Both backs have admitted their excitement over the Panthers new offensive system, which gives them more opportunities for cut-back runs, and chances to hit big plays. But Foster looked strong early, making the kind of inside runs the former administration always swore he was capable of.
"Oh yeah, we're definitely excited," Williams said, "You get the opportunity to choose your own hole in this offense and zone scheme. We have the offensive linemen to do it and they open up some gaping holes. I mean you can't do anything but run through them."
That's just what they did, throughout the day.
"We knew what we were going to be able to do," Foster said. "We just wanted to get out there and execute. Our first drive was a good drive for us, and then we kind of sputtered a little bit. We came out in the second half and were able to do whatever we wanted to do.
"I just wanted to run hard. Just get in there, try to take what was in the offense, and just do my job really. I think the offense fits me really well. I just wanted to play my game."