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Cheat Sheet: Steelers at Panthers


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The Steelers are on the road as they face the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
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The Panthers' first season in the NFL was 1995. While they didn't meet in that inaugural season, the Steelers did visit Carolina in 1996. The Panthers won that game but haven't beaten Pittsburgh since. The Steelers are on a six-game winning streak against Carolina and are 6-1 against the Panthers. During that six-game winning streak, the Panthers have been outscored by 143 points. The most recent matchup was in 2018 with the Steelers winning 52-21. Mike Tomlin is 3-0 against the Panthers.


  • Carolina has won two games in a row and three of their last four. It is the Panthers' first winning streak since starting 3-0 to begin the 2021 season. The Panthers are 4-3 at home this year and 4-4 under interim head coach Steve Wilkes.
  • Since the Steelers' bye in Week 9, compared to the rest of the league they rank eighth in offensive EPA and 11th in defensive EPA.
  • The Steelers have six games this year in which they didn't turn the ball over. That is the second-most in the league. Three of their past four games have been turnover-free.
  • In every game this year that Pittsburgh has won, they scored first. In every game they have lost, the opponent has put the first points on the scoreboard.
  • For the season, Pittsburgh ranks eighth in time of possession and the Panthers are 31st, ahead of only the Seahawks. Last week, Carolina held the ball for 39:16 and over its past three games, only the 49ers and Commanders have better time of possession than the Panthers. Over the last three games, Pittsburgh is 12th.
  • Only six defenses are seeing more plays run per game against them than the Panthers, and only two offenses run fewer plays per contest.
  • The Panthers have a plus-13 point differential over their past four games and have only lost in Baltimore over that stretch. The Steelers point differential over their past five games is plus-11 with their only losses during that stretch coming against Cincinnati and Baltimore.
  • The Steelers are now dead even in turnover differential while Carolina sits at minus-2. Only the Eagles have more interceptions than Pittsburgh, but the Steelers are dead last in taking the ball away via fumble. The Steelers and Panthers have 17 and 16 giveaways respectively, which is right in the middle of the league. Carolina has fumbled the ball 18 times in 2022 but only lost six. The Panthers have also caused 13 fumbles but have only recovered four.


  • The Steelers offense has generated 4.9 yards per play over the course of the season. But over the past three games, Pittsburgh's offense generates 5.4 yards.
  • For the year, Carolina's defense gives up 5.3 yards per play, 12th-best in the league. And over their last three games, the Panthers' 4.8 yards per play allowed is better than all but four defenses.
  • Carolina's defense is 11th in overall EPA, 11th in EPA per drop back and 14th in EPA against the run.
  • Since Week 10, the Panthers opponents are scoring points on just 26.1 percent of their drives, the third-lowest rate in the league.
  • Diontae Johnson's 82 receiving yards was the most he has tallied since Week 3, which was also the last time Mitch Trubisky saw extended playing time. With Trubisky under center this year, Johnson has been targeted on 26.7 percent of his routes compared to 20.8 percent when Kenny Pickett is at quarterback.
  • After running a route on 83 and 80 percent of the team's drop backs in weeks 11 and 12, Pat Freiermuth has run a route on 55 and 57 percent of the drop backs the past two weeks. However, over those past two games, Freiermuth has gotten a 29 percent target share in each game, an extremely high percentage for an NFL tight end. His 24.4 percent target rate for the season is fifth among all tight ends. Freiermuth's touchdown reception last week was his first since Week 2.
  • Brian Burns has 10 of the Panthers' 28 sacks. He has recorded at least half of a sack in five-straight games. They have nine different defenders that have recorded a sack but none of those nine have more than four. Pittsburgh allows 2.6 sacks per game.
  • Pickett and Trubisky both have used play action on exactly 19 percent of the time.
  • Najee Harris played 56 percent of the offensive snaps last week. The previous week he was at 66 percent. For the season, Harris sits at a 66 percent snap share. Jaylen Warren has played 27 percent of the Steelers' offensive snaps, but last week he was on the field for 40 percent of the plays. Harris has found the end zone four times in his past four games.
  • The Panthers gave up just 46 rushing yards last week. They rank 24th, allowing 128.8 yards per game. The running back position averages 4.7 yards per carry against Carolina though. That is 26th in the league.
  • Pittsburgh's offense has produced points on eight occasions this year (3 touchdowns, 5 field goals) in the final two minutes of the first half.
  • Last week, Pittsburgh converted 50 percent of its third down attempts (4 of 8). Over their last five games, the Steelers have also converted on exactly 50 percent of their attempts, gaining a first down on 34 of those 68 third down tries. Over the past three games, only Dallas has a better third down conversion rate. Carolina's defense ranks 22nd on third downs this year.
  • On average, the Steelers are running 64.5 snaps per game, which ranks 11th in the league. Carolina's opponents run 64.8 plays per game, which is 27th. But the Panthers have gotten that number down to 58.7 over their most recent three contests.
  • On third and fourth downs, Carolina will often employ defensive tackle Derrick Brown with three defensive ends. Last week in those situations, Brown played 93 percent of the snaps, Burns played 100 percent.
  • The Panthers opponents are scoring 1.5 points per first quarter. Not only is that best in the league, but it is a full point better than the Ravens, the second-best defense in the league in first quarters. In the fourth quarter of games, Carolina gives up 8.3 points on average. The Ravens, Browns, and Saints are the only teams allowing more in the fourth quarter.


  • Carolina's 5.1 yards per play ranks 23rd in the NFL. But over their past three games, only the Rams, Texans and Colts are generating less yards per snap than Carolina's offense.
  • Carolina ranks 28th overall in offensive EPA, 31st in EPA per drop back, and fifth in rushing EPA.
  • Four different quarterbacks have thrown a pass this year for the Panthers, but it is Sam Darnold's job now. He has yet to throw an interception. However, Darnold has only thrown 43 passes in his two starts. Carolina averages 26.5 points per game with Darnold as the starter.
  • The Panthers produce just 169.2 net passing yards per game and have just 11 passing touchdowns this season.
  • Ten different Panthers were targeted in the passing game last week, but none of their receivers had more than four targets in that game. Leading receiver DJ Moore finished the day without a catch after injuring his ankle. He did play 96 percent of the snaps last week. Moore hasn't caught more than four passes in a game since Week 8.
  • The Steelers blitz at the sixth-highest rate in the NFL and Carolina's offense is seeing blitz at the eighth-highest rate.
  • Over the past two weeks, Pittsburgh has given up 361 yards on the ground. Last week, the Panthers ran for 223 yards in Seattle with four ball carriers accounting for at least 30 rushing yards. But their longest rush by a running back was just 16 yards. The Steelers allow just 115.8 yards per game, which ranks 15th.
  • Pittsburgh's defense gives up 4.2 yards per rushing attempt, but 5.0 over their last three games. Only five defenses are better during that time. Over their past three games, Carolina is producing just 4.1 yards per rush attempt.
  • For the year, Carolina is converting just 28.7 percent of third down opportunities, but it is 10 of 18 on fourth down situations. Only two offenses have been worse on third downs. In their most recent three games, the Steelers are allowing third down conversions just 28.6 percent of the time, fifth-best in the league during that time.
  • It is rare to see just one cornerback on the field in the NFL. Last week against the Ravens, Cameron Sutton played 61 of a possible 61 snaps. However, the Steelers cornerback with the next highest snap count was Levi Wallace, at just 28 snaps played. James Pierre was on the field for 10 plays and Arthur Maulet for just one.
  • Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds never left the field against the Ravens, but Damontae Kazee was also utilized 59 percent of the time.
  • The Titans and Falcons are the only two offenses in the league that run fewer plays per game than Carolina. Over the last three games, Pittsburgh's defense has only been on the field for 58.7 plays per game, the sixth-fewest over that stretch.
  • Carolina scores 2.5 points on average in the first quarter of play. Only the Cardinals and Texans are worse. However, in the fourth quarters of games, the Panthers average 7.8 points scored. Only the Lions, Vikings, Cowboys and Seahawks score more.
  • The Steelers have allowed 18 or fewer points in six of their last eight games.


  • The Panthers have been fortunate in that opposing kickers have made just 80 percent of their field goal attempts this season. The Panthers have made 93 percent of their field goal attempts.


November 8th, 2018: Steelers 52, Panthers 21, Heinz Field

While this game might not be all that memorable in a positive fashion for Carolina, it sure was for Ben Roethlisberger. In a Thursday night matchup squaring Roethlisberger against Cam Newton, Roethlisberger finished the night with 328 passing yards and five touchdown throws, while Newton was sacked five times while producing just 203 yards of total offense. This was Pittsburgh's fifth-straight win, but the Steelers lost four of their final six games and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.


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  • Diontae Johnson has the NFL's most rec & rec yds in 2022 without a rec TD - 67 rec, 647 rec yds rec, 0 rec TD in 2022 - 4+ rec in 12 of 13 games in 2022
  • George Pickens has 15 contested catches in 2022 (T-3rd in NFL, PFF) - Top 4: J. Jefferson (20), DK Metcalf (17), Pickens & M. Pittman (15)
  • Alex Highsmith is T-4th with 50 pressures in 2022 (w/ CAR Brian Burns; NGS) - Highsmith: career-high 4 FF (T-NFL lead) & 10.0 sacks in 2022
  • T.J. Watt in Week 14 recorded his 1st full sack since returning from injury - NGS: 7 pressures in 5 games since return (4th on team since Week 10)
  • Panthers LT Ikem Ekwonu vs. Steelers Edge Alex Highsmith - Highsmith is one of just 11 NFL players with double digit sacks. He also leads the Steelers defensive players in snaps played in 2022. Carolina used the sixth-overall pick in this most recent draft on Ekwonu, who began his NFL career a little shaky, but has really come on of late. Power and brute force are Ekwonu's calling cards, but he is beginning to better understand the nuances of the position. It might not be long before Ekwonu is among the league's best left tackles.
  • Steelers LT Dan Moore vs. Panthers DE Brian Burns - Burns' 10.5 sacks are eighth-most in the league. He is a tremendous player with a fantastic get off, great bend and a long frame. But Burns isn't just a finesse speed rusher. He has power in his hands and a complete pass-rush arsenal. Burns presents problems for every offensive tackle he faces and routinely changes the pass protection plans of Carolina's opponents. Last week, Burns played 96 percent of Carolina's defensive snap and didn't miss a single play on third or fourth downs.