PANTHERS 18, STEELERS 6
Steelers' record: 1-3
One year ago: 1-4
Preseason series record: Steelers lead, 10-8
Coach Mike Tomlin explained what would be the focus of this preseason finale. "I don't do a count," he said, "but I imagine five or six jobs are up to be won by about eight or nine guys. That's usually the case this time of year. There are somewhere in the high-40s in terms of solidified spots, and the other spots will be determined by upside and special teams productivity."
GIVEN THE NIGHT OFF
On the Tuesday before the game, Tomlin said the following would not play: Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, several of our offensive linemen, Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, William Gay, Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier, Ryan Shazier, Mike Mitchell, and William Gay. Also given the night off were Robert Golden, and Stephon Tuitt, along with offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, David DeCastro, and Cody Wallace.
Game action from the Steelers' 2016 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
The good news was that there were no healthy scratches among the guys still fighting for a roster spot. Because if you're a healthy player who doesn't get into a preseason game like this one, it's an ominous sign for your chances.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
With Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines and Landry Jones limited to about one quarter of playing time, the Steelers were left with Bryn Renner taking the bulk of the snaps for the offense. Because Renner was signed so recently, because he wasn't able to participate in any of training camp, the offense was quite limited. And the statistics bore that out.
The Steelers finished with eight first downs and 122 total net yards of offense, which broke down to 63 rushing and 59 passing. As a result, the Steelers ran 39 offensive plays compared to 74 for the Panthers, and the Steelers possessed the ball for 21:07 to 38:53 for Carolina.
NO WOES IN THE RED ZONE
The one category in which the Steelers enjoyed a decided edge was in red zone efficiency, and that can be traced to the performance of the defense. The Steelers offense was 1-for-1 in the red zone, while the defense held Carolina to an 0-for-5 night when it came to scoring touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.