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Thread: Steelers pound Panthers, close to AFC North title

          
   
   
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    Steelers pound Panthers, close to AFC North title

    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.

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    Steelers upset Panthers, 27-3

    The Steelers did their part and now it's down to one game, in Cleveland either this Sunday or next.

    After they put the Carolina Panthers in a 27-3 box at Heinz Field and returned them to Charlotte for Christmas, the Steelers turn toward Cleveland to determine if they get a first-round bye in the playoffs.

    Should the Browns upset Baltimore in Cleveland on Sunday, the Steelers will clinch the AFC North Division and the No. 2 playoff seed in the conference. If Baltimore beats the Browns, the Steelers can obtain the same results by winning in Cleveland Jan. 2.

    The Steelers raised their record to 11-4. The Panthers are 2-13.

    The Steelers ran out to a 20-0 halftime lead against Carolina and toyed with the Panthers in the second half.

    Ben Roethlisberger, who threw for a career-high 259 yards in the first half, opened the scoring in the second half with a one-yard sneak.

    Mike Wallace caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall ran 1 yard for another touchdown and Shaun Suisham kicked field goals of 26 and 29 yards, all in the first half.

    Roethlisberger completed 22 of 32 passes for 320 yards. Wallace caught four passes for 104 yards. Mendenhall rushed for 68 yards.

    After Carolina's promising opening drive fizzled and the Panthers punted with the ball just 32 yards from the end zone, the Steelers scored on their first drive.

    The longest play was the first, a 35-yard run off the left side by Rashard Mendenhall to the Carolina 45. Roethlisberger also completed a 20-yard pass to Heath Miller to the 11. On third down from the eight, Roethlisberger threw what was called a touchdown pass to rookie Emmanuel Sanders. However, referee Bill Leavy overturned it via replay when it was obvious Sanders had dropped the ball as he fell to the ground.

    Shaun Suisham then came on and kicked a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

    Carolina reached the Steelers 32 again on their second series and this time went for it. James Farrior sacked Jimmy Clausen on fourth down.

    Bryant McFadden intercepted Clausen's deep pass at the Steelers 43 and three plays later, Wallace took a short slant pass from Roethlisberger, split two Panthers and no one could catch him on way to a 43-yard touchdown, the ninth for Wallace this season.

    The Steelers looked to be on their way to another score when, on first down at Carolina's 38, Roethlisberger fumbled the snap and Carolina recovered.

    They got their score on their next series, Mendenhall's 1-yard run. Sanders' 35-yard reception over the middle and Miller's 19-yard catch to the 10 highlighted that 8-play scoring drive.

    The Steelers scored again with 39 seconds left in the half. Suisham kicked a 29-yard field goal to end a 43-yard drive that got started when Wallace caught a 40-yard pass from Roethliberger to the 15.

    When Mike Goodson then fumbled the kickoff, Will Allen recovered at the 28 and the Steelers had another shot to score from the 28. They reached the 15, but Roethlisberger was sacked and then Suisham missed a 41-yard field goal wide to the right, his first miss with the Steelers after hitting his first 13 with them.

    The one problem the Steelers had Thursday night is one that has dogged them all season -- scoring touchdowns inside the opponent 20. They were just 1-for-5 against Carolina and on two of those occasions did not score at all -- Suisham missed a field goal and they failed when they went for it on fourth-and-one at the five.

    The Steelers reached the five in the third quarter but did not get in on that fourth-down play, a pass to Mendenhall that did not get to the sticks. They nearly did not score the second time they got inside the five in the third quarter.

    A pass interference penalty gave them a first down at the one and Mendenhall could not score on two runs up the middle. On third down, Roethlisberger sneaked between center and left guard for the touchdown and a 27-0 lead.

    The Steelers were sloppy in the second half. A sack of Roethlisberger lost seven yards back to the two, forcing a punt from their end zone. Carolina converted a short series into a 27-yard field goal by John Kasay to avoid the shutout.

  3. #3
    steelersbabex25's Avatar
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    Steelers upset Panthers? I was unaware the Panthers were favored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelersbabex25 View Post
    Steelers upset Panthers? I was unaware the Panthers were favored.
    I know...i was myself.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Really the score should have been like 41-3 but whatever a win is a win.....Ben and the offense know they have to correct the red zone problems.......Hey with the musical chairs along the OL this year and so many young players being infused in the offense its no surprise the Steelers have struggled to score points especially in the red zone at times this year....Plus you factor in Ben's suspension and injuries its to be expected.......The young players balls have dropped now and are becoming NFL players which is leading them to make plays for this offense.....The OL even seems to be settling into their own.....Of course they're not great but I have seen improvement.......The sacks tonight were really more Ben then OL tonight....But you take the good over the bad with Ben and most of the times its more good then bad......

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    Rookie Free Agent BLACKnGOLD58's Avatar
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    I don't understand why we don't use Redman more often.....he's a beast....only 5 carries......but then again we all don't understand why BA does half the sh** he does

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    The offense went to sleep alittle bit as the game closed out. You could tell they knew the game was won and at that time it was just a mentality of "get thru this game without an injury". They closed the deal early enough and the defense was solid so you knew they weren't coming back. Still though, I'd have liked to see atleast 30 put up tonight.

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    tumbleweed epidemic at heinz field during second half of carolina game

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    @CoachZach_ Zachintosh66's Avatar
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    D played well... especially DL

    Sanders had a nice game (still thought that was a TD tho)


    However, The punch line is we still cant score in the red zone...

    When are we going to get that killer instinct? should been 47-3 #justsaying
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  10. #10
    Rookie Free Agent twag's Avatar
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    once we get in the red zone bruce thinks you havt to go for the the end zone on every play ! does he not understand you can get a first down within that 20 yard patch of grass?! inside the 20,pass pass pass kick a field goal,tihs is NOT going to work in the post season. also why was ben still playing in the 4th quarter? even half way throuh the third? more of a chance to get hurt again when it totaly unnessary,and a chance to give the backup some gametime play before the playoffs because you never know we may need to use him. i just dont understand some off these boneheaded desisions! overall an ok game against a terrible team! now wich browns team will we see?

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