The Steelers closed out the preseason with a 17-14 win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.
It was the final warmup before the Steelers open the regular season against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 10, and the final opportunity for some young players to make an impact as they fight for a roster spot. The Steelers have to go from 90 to 53 players by Saturday, Sept. 2 at 4 p.m.
The Steelers took it down to the wire, when Joshua Dobbs engineered a touchdown drive on the team's final possession.
The offense took over with just 49 seconds to play, and Dobbs had completions to Marcus Tucker for 15 and then 34 yards, to give the Steelers the ball at the one-yard line. Dobbs hit pay dirt when he took it himself for a one-yard touchdown, with just nine seconds remaining, securing the 17-14 win.
Landry Jones started at quarterback, but wasn't out there long. The Steelers first drive ended with a punt, and on the second drive Jones was intercepted by David Mayo and returned 27 yards to the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. Fozzy Whittaker made the Steelers pay when he took it in for a four-yard touchdown, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead.
Dobbs came in at the 5:49 mark of the first quarter, and along with Terrell Watson's efforts on the ground led the Steelers on a 12 play, 58-yard drive, that ended with a 35-yard field goal by Chris Boswell to cut the lead to 7-3. After a defensive stop, Dobbs went right back to work on another 58-yard drive, but this time it was courtesy of just one play. Dobbs hit Justin Hunter in stride for a 58-yard scoring strike, giving the Steelers a 10-7 lead.
The Panthers answered when Joe Webb hit Damiere Byrd for a 13-yard touchdown and 14-10 halftime lead.
On the run:** Terrell Watson is among those vying for a job in a crowded Steelers backfield, and he put on a strong showing. Watson had 62 yards from scrimmage in the first quarter, rushing for 55 of those yards.
He finished the night with 19 carries for 89 yards. He also added two receptions for five yards.
"He has a definite run demeanor," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He is downhill, he is a one-cut runner. It serves him well."
Keeping his promise: When you make a promise to mom, you better deliver, especially when it's her birthday. Rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs promised his mother a touchdown pass in tonight's game, and he delivered. Dobbs hit Justin Hunter on a 58-yard scoring strike, delivering the perfect birthday gift.
Dobbs didn't stop there. He scored on a one-yard touchdown run, giving mom a bonus gift.
Welcome aboard:Newly acquired tight end Vance McDonald, who is wearing No. 89, saw his first action with the Steelers. McDonald, who the Steelers got in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers saw limited playing time, but getting him on the field was key.
"We just wanted to get the introductory element out of the way," said Tomlin. "To have something to talk about as we continue to teach him. From that standpoint it served its purpose. He got his feet wet. He was in the huddle with us a little bit. It's a nice catalyst as we proceed to educate him."
In and out:* *Landry Jones started at quarterback, but wasn't in the game long. Jones played in just the first two series, leaving the game after throwing an interception when he was under pressure and got hit. David Mayo picked off Jones and returned 27 yards to the Pittsburgh 30-yard line. The Panthers later cashed in on Fozzy Whittaker's four-yard touchdown run.
Jones opened the game with a 12-yard completion to Justin Hunter. He would finish the night completing four of six passes for 28 yards and the one interception.
Defense doing it: The Steelers defense came up with four turnovers against the Panthers. Jacob Hagen, Malik Golden and Matt Galambos all had interceptions, while L.J. Fort came up with a fumble recovery.
Deebo does it:** William Gay is a player who normally doesn't see a lot of action in the fourth preseason game, but after not getting a lot of work early in training camp, he saw playing time throughout the second quarter.
And Panthers quarterback Joe Webb likely wished he wasn't out there. Harrison sacked Webb for an 11-yard loss, forcing the Panthers to punt.
"His clock started later than others," said Tomlin. "I like to give the younger guys an opportunity to sharpen their swords. He needs less time, but he does need time. Tonight is a part of that."
A fitting tribute:The Carolina Panthers did a touching and fitting tribute to late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney at the end of the first quarter of tonight's game. Rooney and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has an extremely close relationship.
He said it: General Manager Kevin Colbert, who was signed to a two-year extension on Thursday, had the following to say about Joe Haden and Vance McDonald, two players the Steelers acquired this week.
Colbert on Haden: "A guy like Joe Haden is not available very often. We still think he is a very capable player who can help us in the secondary."
Colbert on McDonald: "Vance is a starting quality tight end. He can run, he can catch, he can block. We were happy we were able to get it done when we did."
How they scored:A detailed look at tonight's scoring.
Game action photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Preseason Week 4 game against the Carolina Panthers
First Quarter: Steelers 0, Panthers 7
Scoring Play: Fozzy Whittaker four-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 7-30-3:59
Second Quarter: Steelers 3, Panthers 7
Scoring Play: Chris Boswell 35-yard field goal
Scoring Summary: 12-58-5:54
Second Quarter: Steelers 10, Panthers 7
Scoring Play: Josh Dobbs to Justin Hunter for the 58-yard touchdown.
Scoring Summary: 1-58-0:08
Second Quarter: Steelers 10, Panthers 14
Scoring Play: Joe Webb 13-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd.
Scoring Summary: 6-61-2:09
Fourth Quarter: Steelers 17, Panthers 14
Scoring Play: Joshua Dobbs one-yard touchdown run.
Scoring Summary: 5-53-0:47