CHARLOTTE – With leading rusher DeAngelo Williams missing practice for the second straight day Thursday due to a sprained foot, running back Jonathan Stewart could be in line of more carries when the Panthers visit the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Stewart, whose had more than his share of foot problems, said he's as ready physically as he's ever been.
"I feel better physically," Stewart said. "I haven't missed a practice since the season started. That's a good thing for conditioning and things like that."
Stewart had been limited in practice by injury throughout his first two NFL seasons, but he's yet to miss a regular season or postseason game.
Despite practicing every day, his numbers are down in 2010. Stewart averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season but is averaging just 3.0 yards per carry this year.
"I don't know why. It's many things. What are they? I don't know," Stewart said. "Eventually if you keep pounding and keep pounding, it will open up.
"I'm just preparing just like I would any other week, just to play when given opportunities. You just have to be ready when your number is called."
SLINGING IT: Quarterback Matt Moore said he played fast and loose in racking up the first 300-yard passing game of his NFL career last week.
That wasn't the way Moore played when he racked up six turnovers in the first two games of the season, a performance that sent him to the sideline for three games before he got a second chance to start.
"Maybe I felt the pressure early on, and you can't play like that," Moore said. "You've got to play this game loose and aggressive."
In addition to a lack of self-inflicted pressure, Moore benefited from a lack of pressure exerted by the 49ers. Opponents sacked Moore eight times in his first two starts, but San Francisco took him down just once.
Moore said he frustrated the 49ers defense by getting the ball out quickly, both with short passes and perfectly placed lobs downfield.
He's hoping for similar results against the Rams.
"I think the whole challenge is to try to keep everything the same as it was last week," he said.
Well, almost everything.
"Confidence is on the rise, not just for me but for everybody. That's one difference."
CLUTCH CATCHES: When it's time to move the chains, the ball seems to end up in tight end Dante Rosario's hands quite a bit.
Four of Rosario's five catches against San Francisco went for first downs. All told, 44 of his 65 career receptions (67.7 percent) have resulted in a first down or a touchdown.
"Leading up to the game, I just make sure I'm prepared, whether it be for first down, second down or third down," Rosario said. "As far the ball coming to me a little bit more on third down, I don't know if that's Matt or Jimmy (Clausen) having confidence in me or whatever. All I know is that I just have to be ready whenever the ball is thrown to me."