— J. Dub (@BlaqIce18) June 3, 2014
This is the second of three plays nominated as the most memorable in Carolina Panthers' history. Also featured are: John Kasay's out-of-bounds kickoff that set up New England's game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl that concluded the 2003 season and Steve Smith's 69-yard game-winning catch in double-overtime of the NFC Divisional playoff game that year. Please vote for your choice as the Panthers' most memorable play.
Score: Panthers 14, Eagles 3
Date: Jan. 18, 2004 Site: Lincoln Financial Field
Description: It may have been the most spectacular -- and longest in terms of time off the clock -- 1-yard touchdown run in playoff history. DeShaun Foster broke four tackles and sidestepped two more, finishing the play going backwards with his right arm and ball stretched over the pylon for the touchdown. That gave Carolina a 14-3 lead with 4:11 left in the third quarter. With quarterback Donovan McNabb watching on the sideline with a rib injury suffered earlier in the game and the Carolina defense playing at a high level, that was the play that sent the Panthers to their first and only Super Bowl. Few plays in team history have been more eloquent, powerful and poetic than Foster's run. He basically had no blocking as he took the pitch from quarterback Jake Delhomme. This was all him. He avoided hard-charging and diving free safety Brian Dawkins at the 5. He was hit by middle linebacker Mark Simoneau two yards behind the line of scrimmage. He twisted out of that and took on linebacker Nate Wayne, in perfect position, at the two in a violent collision. Strong safety Michael Lewis hit both from the side. With a little help from fullback Brad Hoover, Foster continued to twist and churn his powerful legs. Simoneau came back for a second try as Foster was falling backward toward the pylon. He wouldn't be denied.
"It was blocked up fairly well," Foster said. "Dawkins made a real good play. He made me cut it up. From there it was just a fight to get into the end zone." Running in slow motion you'd swear the play took five minutes. It left the Eagles' crowd that had seen their team lose in the NFC Championship Game the year before in stunned silence. It showed the heart and strength that had been so prevalent in Carolina throughout the year. "We have a bunch of strong-willed guys, and they keep swinging their sword until they get it done," then-coach John Fox said. "They aren't going to be denied." Foster certainly wasn't on this play.