Bob Labriola with his thoughts on "what went right, wrong" at Carolina.
What went right
- It took a lot longer than anyone involved, but first-round pick Artie Burns made his Steelers debut against the Panthers. Burns started the game at cornerback.
- With the Panthers facing a third-and-7 from the Steelers 18-yard line, the defense got good pressure with a four-man rush that ended with Arthur Moats and Anthony Chickillo combining on a sack of Joe Webb for an 11-yard loss. Graham Gano did come on to convert the 47-yard field goal that gave Carolina a 3-0 lead with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter.
- A few plays following the roughing the passer penalty on Caushaud Lyons, the Panthers were looking at a third-and-4 from the Steelers 15-yard line. Again the Steelers defense recorded a sack of Joe Webb, and again it was Moats who made the play, this time for a 9-yard loss. But again, Graham Gano came on to convert a field goal, this time from 42 yards out, and the Panthers had a 6-0 lead with 11-plus minutes remaining in the second quarter.
- Jordan Berry got off a 45-yard punt at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter, and it appeared as though Damiere Byrd was about to make a case for a spot on Carolina's 53-man roster with a special teams touchdown. The wall was set up along the left sideline, but just before Byrd broke into the open field, Sean Davis came off a block and made the tackle after an 18-yard return.
- It was a third-and-7 from the Pittsburgh 10-yard line, and Panthers quarterback Joe Webb tried a sideline route for tight end Marcus Lucas right at the goal line. But Artie Burns cut underneath the receiver and made a diving breakup of the pass. Graham Gano's third field goal of the night – from 28 yards out – gave Carolina a 9-0 lead with 3:36 remaining in the first half.
- The Panthers made one more trip into the red zone before the end of the first half, and the Steelers got a break from the officials in keeping them out of the end zone this time. Keyarris Garrett made a one-handed catch in the end zone and came down in bounds, but the play was nullified by offensive pass interference. Garrett was flagged for pushing off on Doran Grant. Gano's fourth field goal, from 41 yards out, gave the Panthers a 12-0 lead at halftime.
- It was the Steelers' longest gain of the game, and it didn't come until there were only 94 seconds left in the third quarter. A 26-yard run by Daryl Richardson gave the Steelers a first down at the Carolina 23-yard line. Two plays later, Landry Jones drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone, and then Richardson followed that with a 1-yard run for a touchdown.
What went wrong
Game action from the Steelers' 2016 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
- Kickoff was delayed 21 minutes by weather. And so it was that the Steelers preseason ended the way it began – with a kickoff delayed by weather.
- It was going to be a third-and-10 from the Pittsburgh 48-yard line following an incomplete pass, but Caushaud Lyons was flagged for roughing the passer that gave the Panthers a first down at the Steelers 33-yard line.
- A significant reason why, in this battle of the backups, that Carolina had a 12-0 lead over the Steelers came down to the teams' respective abilities to run the football. The Steelers finished the first half with 23 yards on eight attempts, while the Panthers managed 101 yards on 20 attempts.
- It was a fourth-and-2 for the Panthers, and Andy Lee was back in punt formation. Demarcus Ayers signaled for a late fair catch of the short punt, and the ball ended up bouncing off the leg of Steven Johnson, who was engaged with a Panthers player and trying to block him. J.J. Jansen recovered for Carolina at the Pittsburgh 22-yard line, and the possession ended with a 22-yard field goal from Graham Gano that upped the Panthers lead to 15-0 with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
- The Steelers' offensive possession late in the third quarter after the field goal that upped Carolina's lead to 15-0 was ruined before it could really begin because of penalties. On first down, tackle Wade Hansen was flagged for a leg-whip, which made it first-and-22, and then that became first-and-27 following a false start penalty on Antoine Everett. Three plays later, Jordan Berry got off a 51-yard punt.