Pittsburgh, PA —
The Steelers traveled to Charlotte, N.C., last night to take on the Carolina Panthers in the fourth and final preseason game of 2011. For many, this was their last game in a Steelers uniform. Even with many key players kept out of participation, the Steelers held strong and handed the Panthers a 33-17 loss; ending the preseason with a 3-1 record.
No one was surprised that Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick (out of Auburn) Cam Newton was given the start at quarterback. Newton, who has been heralded across the NFL and treated like a veteran by many analysts, led one series. Newton went 3 of 5 passing for 25 yards which resulted in a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey against the Steelers who rested many of its top players, including defensive starters.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had said prior to the game that Charlie Batch would get the start at quarterback, and he did, completing 6-of-8 passes for 59 yards and one touchdown during mainly a single quarter. Dennis Dixon, who is competing with Batch for the backup position behind Ben Roethlisberger (who was kept out of the game) played most of the remainder of the game. Batch had only thrown four passes in the preseason before last night’s game, but he was able to drive against the Panthers’ starting defense and score by finding receiver Mike Wallace inside the 10-yard line. As Wallace stretched to get the ball across the plain of the goalline, he was hit by Chris Gamble and fumbled. Thankfully, Steelers tight end David Johnson was able to recover the bobble in the end zone to score. The point after by Shaun Suisham was good.
Later, Batch said, “It was good to get the rust out a little bit…I was able to move a little bit, read (the) blitz and move to hot routes.”
Dixon was able to capitalize on a fumbled Carolina snap which was recovered by the Steelers by hitting rookie Weslye Saunders for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Dixon’s final numbers were 11 of 22 passes for 157 yards. Dixon said, “I’m happy the opportunity came my way, and I tried to make the most of it.”
Jonathan Dwyer also ran for a 50-yard touchdown, continuing his fight for a backup role at running back behind Rashard Mendenhall, Issac Redman and Mewelde Moore.
Steelers Box Score Leaders
J. Dwyer 13 att. 88 yards 1 TD Lng 50T
J. Clay 7 att. 30 yards 0 TD Lng 12
I. Redman 4 att. 29 yards 0 TD Lng 13
E. Sanders 4 rec. 60 yards 0 TD Lng 33
W. Lyons 1 rec. 38 yards 0 TD Lng 38
A. Battle 4 rec. 36 yards 0 TD Lng 14
W. Saunders 3 red. 32 yards 1 TD Lng 15T
M. Ivy 7 T / 2 A – 1 sack
C. Brown 3 T/1 A
D. Cromartie-Smith 1 sack
J. Worilds 1 sack
W. Allen 1 INT
Highlight Video – Steelers vs. Carolina (NFL Films)
Note: Long links in pre-game and post-game articles are usually links to interactive features like videos. Feel free to click on the links. The video(s) will open in a new page.
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