Ben Roethlisberger showed off Pittsburgh's deep passing game and the Steelers inched closer to a division title and a first-round playoff bye, beating the Carolina Panthers, 27-3, Thursday night.
Pittsburgh (11-4) will wrap up the AFC North and the bye if it beats Cleveland on Jan. 2. The Browns (5-9) could end the division race even earlier than that by upsetting the Baltimore Ravens (10-4) at home Sunday.
Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace on a 43-yard scoring play and Emmanuel Sanders on a 35-yard completion to set up Rashard Mendenhall's 1-yard touchdown run as the Steelers opened a 20-0 halftime lead.
It didn't seem that close, and it wasn't, not with the Steelers outgaining the Panthers (2-13) by more than a 3-to-1 margin.