Panthers RB D’Onta Foreman pounds Falcons for 130 yards, TD in victory

On a rain-soaked night in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers saddled D’Onta Foreman 31 times and watched the bruising back carry them to a 25-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

“I never tapped out; tired a little bit, a little winded at times, but when the game’s on the line, there’s no coming out,” Foreman said, via the team’s official website. “You’ve just got to continue to grind and continue to pound it. That’s what I wanted to do.”

Foreman rushed a career-high 31 times for 130 yards and a touchdown, grinding out yards and gashing the Falcons defense for chunk gains.

In total, Carolina rushed the ball 47 times, the third-most in a game this season, for 232 yards (most by the Panthers since Week 5, 2019).

“I’ve said it from day one that we want to try to control the line of scrimmage,” interim coach Steve Wilks said. “To me, I know the league has somewhat changed a little bit, where everybody thinks about passing, but as a defensive guy, I understand there’s nothing more demoralizing than having 200 or something yards ran on you.”

Since trading Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers have leaned on the ground game. In Weeks 1-6, they attempted 20.7 carries per game for 90.3 yards per contest and three rushing TDs. In Weeks 7-9, Carolina has rushed 32 times per tilt for 159.5 yards and 5.0 yards per carry.

Thursday night marked the second time in three games that Foreman has blasted the Falcons. In two matchups against Atlanta, the running back has a combined 248 yards on 57 attempts with four touchdowns. Foreman became the first Panthers player to score four-plus TDs versus a single opponent in a season since Mike Tolbert against New Orleans in 2012.

Following his 12-yard touchdown run Thursday, the 236-pound running back leapt into the crowd to celebrate with the soaked hometown fans.

“They helped me up there,” Foreman said of the Carolina fans at Bank of America Stadium. “It was kind of a high jump. I didn’t expect it to be that high. It was cool though. It was something I always wanted to do.”

The 26-year-old former third-round pick was nearly resigned to his NFL career being over last year before getting a call from Tennessee, who needed aid after Derrick Henry went down with an injury. Since then, Foreman has run like a stampeding bull. Signed to be McCaffrey’s backup this season, Foreman has become much more than that since the trade. He now has three 100-yard rushing games in his last four games.

“It’s a blessing from God. Very thankful for this opportunity,” Foreman said. “Need to stay focused and go one day at a time, one game at a time, doing what I can do to help this team.”

Foreman has helped the Panthers to two wins in their last four games, and even at 3-7, Thursday’s victory kept them in play in a struggling NFC South.

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