Steelers’ record: 11-4
One year ago: 8-7
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 4-1
At any point during the past nine months since the start of the offseason program, if the Steelers had been posed with the scenario that wins in their final two games would give them the division title and a first-round playoff bye, they would have taken it immediately. Well, the Steelers were exactly there after 14 games, and the first of those last two games was against the 2-12 Carolina Panthers.
The early portion of this game was going to be important, because the Panthers were going to need some good things to happen for them early to build the confidence they would need to pull off the upset. Nothing good really happened for them early – there was no opening kickoff return for a touchdown, and their first offensive possession ended in a punt. By the end of the first half, the Steelers had built a 20-0 lead.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
The 43-yard touchdown pass from
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* Jason Baker’s punt from the Pittsburgh 32-yard line looked to be downed at the 1-yard line, but Marcus Hudson’s foot touched the goal line before he downed the ball, which made the play a touchback and the Steelers took over at the 20-yard line.
* At the change of the quarter, the Panthers went from lining up to punt from the Steelers’ 32-yard line to going for the first down.
* Three plays after
* What looked to be another red zone failure turned into the Steelers’ third touchdown of the game when Richard Marshall was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on an incompletion to
WHAT WENT WRONG
* On a third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, a Ben Roethlisberger pass to
* It’s not something that’s seen very often, an offensive lineman being replaced in the middle of a series when injury wasn’t an issue. That’s what happened with
* Suisham came into the game having made 15 in a row from 40-49 yards, but he was wide right on a 41-yard attempt on the final play of the first half to snap the streak.
* The Steelers came into the game ranked 25th in the NFL in red zone offense, with a touchdown percentage of 46.2. That number is going to be worse next week, because they converted just 2-for-6 red zone opportunities against a Panthers defense that was allowing touchdowns 49.1 percent of the time.
With the game against the Panthers coming as it did just four days following the loss to the New York Jets, there wasn’t a lot of recuperation time for the Steelers’ walking wounded.
The win last Thursday night could end up being a costly one for the Steelers, because both
Typically, the Steelers’ in-game announcement of a player’s injury usually includes listed his return as questionable, but in Worilds’ case they ruled him out. That could mean he sustained a serious injury.