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Defense knew how to dominate

A look back at a big win against the Carolina Panthers.

Steelers 27, Carolina Panthers 3

December 23, 2010

Heinz Field

Defense dominates: The defense didn’t allow the Panthers to get anything going. They stuffed the run game, allowing just 74 yards on 22 attempts. Jimmy Clausen couldn’t do anything, completing just 10 passes for 72 yards, while being sacked four times and intercepted once. He finished with a quarterback rating of 33.2. The Panthers managed a late field goal, spoiling the shutout for the defense.

“We didn’t get the shutout,” said Ryan Clark. “We were really pushing for it. I think it would have been a big statement for us.”

He wasn’t the only one disappointed in not getting the shutout, despite the strong performance. The defense allowed just seven first downs, held the Panthers to 3-for-13 on third downs and 0-for-1 on fourth down. But that lack of a shutout bugged them.

“We wanted to get the shutout,” said William Gay. “I mean, playing in the Steelers organization, you have all these great defenses on the wall that you’re trying to live up to. Shutouts are expected. We had an opportunity to get a shutout but we didn’t do it.”

Sack attack: The defense sacked Clausen four times, with James Farrior, James Harrison, Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood accounting for the hits.

“That was better. That was a better effort today,” said Farrior. “I think overall we did a good job being that it was a short week. We didn’t really have a lot of time to prepare, but I think guys just really did a good job of taking care of the little things and making sure we didn’t go out and have a bad effort today.”

Don’t look back: The offense got off to an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a Shaun Suisham field goal and never looked back. Ben Roethlisberger added to the lead when he hit Mike Wallace for a 43-yard scoring strike. Rashard Mendenhall put the Steelers ahead 17-0 on a one-yard run, and Roethlisberger’s one-yard touchdown run gave the Steelers a comfortable 27-0 lead in the third quarter.

By a nose: Roethlisberger didn’t come out of the game totally unscathed. After a hit his helmet hit his nose, giving him that prize fighter bloody look.

“I don’t think so,” said Roethlisberger of whether it was broken or not. “It’s still a little crooked, and it was more of the bridge this time. The doctor was here that did my surgery, looked at it and said there wasn’t a need for an X-Ray right now. So we’ll let it go.”

Speak up: Despite the dominating win, the talk after the game wasn’t all positive, as both the offense and defense were critical of their play.

“I guess we have high standards for ourselves,” said Roethlisberger. “We set the bar real high and we want to reach it.”

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