Steelers Rout Panthers 27-3 in Thursday Night Match-up

I wish I could say the Panthers put up a bold fight but honestly this one was over in the 1st quarter. The Steelers displayed the type of vertical passing game the Panthers had in years past. In those days Steve Smith was a threat to go deep on any play. These days he catches a couple sideline passes and calls it a day.

The Panthers offense looked pretty good on its first two drives, going 42 and 25 yards, both times falling just short of FG range. That was about as good as it would get for the offense until the 4th quarter. Clausen threw a pick, got sacked multiple times and got no help from his WRs, who dropped multiple catchable balls. I don't think Clausen helped himself much this game but his NFL education continues for another week.

The defense was simply over matched in the secondary. When a 7th round rookie CB (McClain) is covering the opposing #1 receiver singled up you're asking for trouble. Big Ben was the difference as he confounded the Panthers with his ability to get the ball away with defenders seemingly latched on to him. He had 240 yards passing the first half when this game was won.

The LBs couldn't keep up TE Heath Miller from getting 5+ catches for 70 plus yards. They did do a good job of shutting down the run after a long run on the Steelers first possession.

Here's a box score link.

Here's some quick hits:

  • RB Jonathan Stewart posted 73 yards on 18 carries (4.0 ypc) but seemed to lose his muster in the 1st half. He did though give us another highlight reel paly when he stiff arm slammed LB James Farrior to the ground (Pictured!) Can you say Posterized!
  • DE Charles Johnson notched 2 more sacks to run his streak to six straight games with a sack or more. Johnson is looking beastly; the Panthers would be stupid to let him test free agency
  • CB Captain Munnerlyn again ripped off a nice punt return to set up the Panthers lone points. The nifty 19 yard jaunt gave the Panthers offense field position even they couldn't screw up. Kasay nailed the kick, not as automatic as we were used to
  • The Panthers offensive line gave up four sacks but it seemed like fourteen. Clausen does continue to lack the pocket presence to escape even a modest pass rush. He also continues to stare down receivers on certain plays, giving the defense chances to make plays on his passes.
  • I don't have an official number on drops but I unofficially counted 4. Smitty had 2, LaFell one and Gettis one.
  • P Jason Baker was on some punts scary bad averaging 30 yards on 8 punts. Yes the conditions were bad so there is that to factor but he simply shanked a couple. The fact its a lost season makes this a small concern looking at 2011
  • Clausen finished 10 for 23 for 72 yards and an INT...not much to say that is so poor
  • We did bloody Big Ben nose! Maybe we'll get a pic of him with the cotton up his nose
  • When I watch other teams make the vertical passing game look so easy I wonder what the hell happened in Carolina? We used to be a deep threat but not this season, not for a while. 

    When this season is over we need to have a big bon fire and burn the Panther playbook in effigy.

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