Game Preview: Steelers vs. Panthers (Preseason)

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Preseason Game #5** Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-1)
Date: Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Site: Heinz Field (68,400) - Pittsburgh, Pa.
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
TV Coverage: KDKA-TV, channel 2
Announcers: Bob Pompeani (play-by-play), Charlie Batch (color analyst), Rich Walsh (sideline), Missi Matthews (sideline)
Local Radio: Steelers Radio Network, WDVE-FM (102.5)/WBGG-AM (970)
Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play), Tunch Ilkin (color analyst), Craig Wolfl ey (sideline)

STEELERS IN THE PRESEASON
121-109-1: Pittsburgh owns a 121-109-1 all-time record in the preseason.

STEELERS-PANTHERS SERIES HISTORY
Series History: Series began in 1996
Overall Regular Season: Steelers lead, 5-1
At Pittsburgh: Steelers lead, 3-0
At Carolina: Steelers lead, 2-1
Neutral Sites: n/a
Streak: Steelers won previous five meetings
Last Regular-Season Meeting: Sept. 21, 2014 at Carolina
Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 19
Postseason Series: n/a
Last Postseason Meeting: n/a
(preseason and postseason record not included in overall series record)

This is the 13th consecutive preseason these two teams will square off in the preseason finale…the Steelers and Panthers have played one another in 16 preseason games, but have only faced each other six times during the regular season…the Panthers are making their seventh preseason appearance at Heinz Field since the stadium opened in 2001…the Steelers have defeated the Panthers in six of the last eight preseason matchups between these two clubs, dating back to 2007…the Steelers own a 5-2 preseason home record against the Panthers and lead the overall preseason series 10-6.

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THE LAST TIME VS. CAROLINA*
*Pittsburgh 37, Carolina 19

Sept. 21, 2014
Bank of America Stadium (73,945)

CHARLOTTE – Pittsburgh won its fi rst road contest of the 2014 season in dominating fashion with a 37-19 win at Carolina. It marked the Steelers fi fth consecutive victory against the Panthers.

K Graham Gano connected on a 40-yard fi eld goal midway through the fi rst quarter to give Carolina a 3-0 lead. The Steelers responded with three straight fi eld goals as K Shaun Suisham connected from 42, 24 and 45 yards out to give Pittsburgh a 9-3 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Pittsburgh scored 28 points thanks to splash plays from the offense, defense and special teams. On the Panthers' first drive of the third quarter, LB Jarvis Jones sacked and stripped QB Cam Newton, and the fumble was recovered by LB Jason Worilds. Five plays later, QB Ben Roethlisberger found WR Antonio Brown for a seven-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 16-3 advantage.

Gano made a 40-yard fi eld goal on the Panthers' ensuing drive. Pittsburgh responded on its next drive when RB Le'Veon Bell had an 81-yard rush to Carolina's 11-yard line. It marked the fi rst 80-yard rush for Pittsburgh since the 2005 season. Roethlisberger found Brown again from seven yards out to give the Steelers a 23-6 lead.

The Panthers cut the lead 23-13 on Newton's 37-yard touchdown pass to TE Greg Olsen, and Carolina forced the Steelers to punt on their next possession. But S Shamarko Thomas forced a fumble on the punt and it was recovered by S Robert Golden in the endzone for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 30-13 lead.

The Steelers added seven more points on RB LeGarrette Blount's eight-yard touchdown run to give Pittsburgh a 37-13 advantage. QB Derek Anderson connected with WR Kelvin Benjamin on a 35-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to the Panthers their final points of the game

For the fi rst time since 1986, the Steelers had two running backs (Bell and Blount) each rush for 100 yards in the same game.

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Photos of running back DeAngelo Williams. Photos by AP.

STEELERS-PANTHERS CONNECTIONS*
*Former Steelers/Panthers

• Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams was originally drafted by the Panthers in the fi rst round (27th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. After spending nine seasons with Carolina (2006-14), Williams stands as the Panthers all-time leader in rushing attempts (1,432), rushing yards (6,846), rushing touchdowns (46) and 100-yard games (18).
• Steelers S Mike Mitchell spent 2013 season with the Panthers, prior to coming to Pittsburgh.
• Steelers Player Engagement Coordinator Terry Cousin played two seasons in Carolina from 2002-03.
• Panthers WR Jerricho Cotchery played three seasons (2011-13) with the Steelers.

Area Connections
• Steelers LS Greg Warren hails from Goldsboro, N.C. and played collegiately at the University of North Carolina (2001-04).
• Pittsburgh DT Cam Thomas played at the University of North Carolina for four years (2006-09).
• Pittsburgh CB Kevin Fogg and DT Daniel McCullers are both natives of Raleigh, N.C.
• Steelers WR Kenzel Doe grew up in Reidsville, N.C.
• Carolina DT Chas Alecxih played at the University of Pittsburgh (2008-11) and is from Lancaster, Pa.
• Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne is a native of Harrisburg, Pa.

NFL Connections
• Steelers OC Todd Haley spent three seasons (2004-06) in Dallas with Panthers ST coordinator Bruce DeHaven.
• Pittsburgh ST Coordinator Danny Smith coached one season (2006) with Carolina Asst. OL coach Ray Brown in Washington.
• Smith also coached Carolina K Graham Gano for three seasons with the Redskins (2009-11).
• Pittsburgh OL coach Mike Munchak coached with Carolina ST Coordinator Russ Purnell for one year (1997) on the Houston/Tennessee Oilers staff.
• Munchak also worked with Carolina Asst. ST/Nickel Back coach Curtis Fuller (2012) and RB coach Jim Skipper (2011-12) in Tennessee when he was the Titans HC.
• Steelers CB coach Carnell Lake was a training camp intern for the Eagles in 2009 when Fuller was on staff.
• Steelers RB coach James Saxon coached two seasons (2006-07) with Carolina OL coach John Matsko in Kansas City.
• Steelers QB Bruce Gradkowski played one season (2008) with Panthers QB Derek Anderson in Cleveland.
• Steelers C/G Cody Wallace played two seasons (2008-09) in San Francisco when Panthers TE coach Pete Hoener was on staff for the 49ers.
• Pittsburgh DT Cam Thomas played his rookie season (2010) under Carolina HC Ron Rivera in San Diego when Rivera was the DC.
• Steelers LB Arthur Moats played two seasons (2010-11) with Panthers DT Dwan Edwards in Buffalo.

College Connections
• Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons played two seasons (2005-06) with Panthers K Graham Gano at Florida State.
• Pittsburgh DE Cameron Heyward (2007-10) played with Carolina WR Corey Brown (2010-13), S Kurt Coleman (2006-09) and G Andrew Norwell (2010-13) at Ohio State.
• Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (2011-13) and CB Doran Grant (2011-14) also played with Brown and Norwell, as well as Panthers DE Steve Miller (2011-14) for the Buckeyes.
• Pittsburgh LB Vince Williams also played with Gano (2008) and Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (2011-12) for the Seminoles.
• Steelers DT Steve McLendon and Panthers DE Mario Addison were teammates at Troy for one season (2008).
• Steelers WR Markus Wheaton played at Oregon State with Panthers OT Mike Remmers for three seasons (2009-11).
• Steelers QB Landry Jones and Panthers DE Frank Alexander played together for four seasons (2008-11) at Oklahoma.
• Pittsburgh P Brad Wing was teammates with Carolina G Trai Turner (2011-12) at LSU.
• Pittsburgh WR Sammie Coates was teammates with Carolina RB Cameron Artis-Payne at Auburn for two seasons (2013-14).

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