Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweet Carolina: Steelers WIN


The Panthers win the toss and defer so the Steelers get it first because they're smarter than Texas (link).

The Steelers get off to a bit of a strange start as they an illegal substitution penalty and have to burn a timeout on 3rd and short when they can't figure out their substitutes. The good news is that The Prescription came to play and picks up 2 first downs all on his own, but the drive stalls out near midfield when a 3rd down pass gets batted down at the line.

The Panthers go right to the air and Cam Newton does what Brian Hoyer and Joe Flacco did the first two weeks and picks apart the Steelers secondary. The Panthers move down into Steelers territory with Newton visibly limping after taking a hit from Worilds. The defense is able to get off the field thanks to a pass bouncing off the hands of Kelvin Benjamin, unfortunately Cortez Allen just missed coming up with a diving pick.


The Steelers decide that the drive after giving up points is a great time to take a bunch of penalties and wind up in 3rd and long where they throw a WR screen and just give up. In two drives, the Steelers didn't throw a pass that wasn't a screen of some kind.

The defense steps up and forces a 3-and-out with Bill Gay chasing down a receiver over the middle to force the punt.

Ben finally takes a shot down the field and DHB is able to draw a pass interference penalty to flip the field and get us to the edge of field goal range. Le'Veon picks up a first down on his own on a naaaasty jump cut. The drive screeches to a halt when Ben gets sacked then almost gets his arm hit on 3rd down, but Suisham connects to get us on the board.


Second Quarter

The defense gets off the field again and forces their second straight 3-and-out when Olsen drops a low pass on 3rd and 1.

A booming punt and a penalty on the return flip the field and pin us back inside the 10. A false start sets us back even further but LeGarrette Blount makes a beautiful cutback and gets it all in one chunk. On 3rd down, Ben takes a shot down the field to AB in single coverage. Brown makes a great over-the-shoulder grab to move us out across midfield.

Heath gets in on the action and moves the chains again and gets us into the red zone. AB comes up just short of the chains on 3rd down inside the 10 but the Steelers go for it and Ben sneaks it for the first down.

On 3rd and goal, Ben seemingly hits Wheaton for a touchdown but the back judge calls it incomplete, saying Wheaton stepped out then came back in and caught the ball.

Suisham puts us in the lead.


McLendon gets the first sack since the Browns game to start the next drive but Cam hits Benjamin to get into 3rd and short. Cam hits Olsen to move the chains then Benjamin on a similar play to the one that won the BCS championship, but it was only for a first down this time.  Jarvis Jones makes his first good play of the night, which is getting his facemask held and the penalty puts the Panthers well behind on down and distance. Cam Heyward drills Newton on 3rd down, forcing an overthrow and it's punt city.

Ben burned 2 timeouts already in the half on substitution miscommunications so the Steelers only have 1 timeout and 1:40 to work with after the punt.

AB hauls in a pass then makes an All Pro play jumping into a defender to draw a pass interference to get us across midfield. Wheaton keeps things going but can't get out of bounds which forces a spike to stop the clock. On 2nd down, DeCastro hits Kuechly after the play which knocks us out of field goal range. Bell gets us back into range on a dump-down and Suisham drills it from 45.


Third Quarter

Carolina gets flagged for holding but the refs give it back on an illegal contact penalty on Cortez Allen. Shazier got hurt when Timmons landed on his knee/leg. Another hold knocks the Panthers back and The Diesel takes over, walking the tackle back into Newton on a bull rush on two consecutive plays. On the second, Jarvis Jones also beat his tackle around the edge and hit Newton, seemingly forcing a fumble that the Steelers recover.

Nothing is without drama though as the turnover has to be reviewed to make sure it actually was a turnover.

The Steelers take over at the 17 but can't get anything going and seemingly have to settle for 3 after Ben overthrows Heath in the end zone on 3rd down. Carolina isn't content to let us kick a 30-yard field goal and jump offsides to give us new life at the 7. Ben hangs in under pressure and pumps a few times then makes a RIDICULOUS throw to the back corner of the end zone to Antonio Brown.


Seriously, you can't even make that throw in video games.


The good feeling doesn't last for long as Ike Taylor makes a tackle of Kelvin Benjamin and Ike's arm gets shattered by Lawrence Timmons' helmet coming in to help with the tackle. The Panthers slowly work their way down the field, picking on Antwon Blake who is now the nickel corner. Carolina out-thinks themselves and decides not to go for Blake on Benjamin on 3rd down at the edge of the red zone and Newton overthrows his receiver.


The Steelers seem to be going nowhere when they get called for a pick play and are in a 2nd and 22 inside their own 10 but The Prescription takes one right up the middle and dashes through the Carolina defense and gets caught from behind at the 11.


AB gets us to the 1 but Michael Palmer pushes off in the end zone and gets called for offensive pass interference. Two plays later, Ben scrambles out of pressure and hits Antonio Brown streaking across the goalline for the touchdown.


The Panthers are able to pick up a few first down with passes to Benjamin but Arthur Moats decides he's seen enough and sacks Newton near midfield.

Fourth Quarter

The Panthers get some yards on 3rd down and Riverboat Ron goes for it on 4th down with Benjamin picking it up. Two plays later, Newton hits Olsen who blows past Allen and takes it to the house.


The Steelers can't get anything going and have to punt it right back to Carolina. Brad Wing booms one and the Panthers returner has trouble picking it up, but finally does just before Shamarknado slams into him and knocks the ball out. It pinballs around as Panthers players and Steelers players try to dive on it before Robert Golden finally falls on it in the end zone for a TOUCHDOWN.

(Photoshop brilliance from @OFTOT)


Carolina gets some field position when Cam Newton gets broken in half by Jason Worilds which draws a flag. Cam can barely stand let alone even throw and that's it for the Panthers drive.

Carolina downed the punt inside the 5 so the Steelers go run-run-pass and work their way out with a 3rd down pass to Wheaton. Heath makes a juggling catch over the middle and rumbles down the sideline to get us across the 40. LeGarrette Blount The Warhammer takes one up the middle and bounces it outside and takes it all the way down the sideline inside the 10.

For those keeping track at home, that's an 81-yard run by Bell and a 51-yard run by Blount in the same game.

Two plays later, Blount gets to finish what he started and just runs over some hapless Panther defender and drags him into the end zone.
(h/t @SteelersDepot for the great gif work)


The Steelers have 200 yards rushing for the first time since 2010.

Derek Anderson comes in for Carolina because Cam Newton couldn't even walk any more. Anderson doesn't really care about the score and airs it out, moving the Panthers into Steelers territory. DA goes downtown for Benjamin down the sideline who makes an over-the-shoulder catch over Antwon Blake and slides his feet inside the pylon for the touchdown.

Panthers go for 2 and miss though, because they've never scored more than 20 against the Steelers.


Bruce Gradkowski comes in for his first regular season action as a Pittsburgh Steeler. Blount goes right back to work hammering the Panthers up the middle, hurdling over guys and running them down. Blount picks up a first down right before the 2-minute warning.

With the Panthers still having timeouts, the Steelers give it to Blount who goes right up the middle and he tries to hurdle over Cason again but Cason isn't having it and takes a leg to the face.

Victory Formation.


Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Le'Veon Bell
Defensive Game Ball: Ike Taylor
Honorable Mentions:
Antonio Brown
Ben Roethlisberger
LeGarrette Blount
Kelvin Beachum
Cody Wallace
Maurkice Pouncey
David DeCastro
Marcus Gilbert
Shamarko Thomas
Robert Golden
Cam Heyward
Brett Keisel
Steve McLendon
William Gay

Final Thoughts

  • Antonio Brown surpassed Santonio Holmes in career receiving yards with the Steelers, moving him into 11th on the Steelers all-time list.
    • Brown needs on 63 more yards to pass Ray Matthews and move into the Top 10.
  • 265 rushing yards as a team is the 10th most in a single game in team history.
  • After averaging 19.5 points per game in the first 8 games last year, the Steelers have averaged 26.9 points per game over their last 11 games.
  • The Steelers have scored 30+ points in 5 of their last 10 games.
    • Under Bruce Arians, the Steelers only scored 30+ in 5 of the last 23 games he was Offensive Coordinator.
  • Besides the injuries to Shazier, Jones and Ike, this game couldn't have gone any better.
  • We have two of the worst teams in the league over the next two weeks. Time to stack some wins.

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