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Pittsburgh’s defense started out slow on the first drive but came up big the rest of the game, intercepting one ball and sacking Clausen four times as Dick LeBeau had the defense attacking Carolina’s rookie quarterback all night.
Carolina was held to 119 yards and only seven first downs. Pittsburgh’s defense was also able to get off of the field on third downs as the Panthers only covered 3-of-13 third down attempts.
Offensively the Steelers had their best offensive output since they scored 35 points against Oakland.
Converting on only 2-of-6 red zone attempts, however, was inexcusable.
Just last week Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians discussed their red zone woes, including that they too often went for the touchdown on one play.
Despite acknowledging their problems the Steelers offense reverted back to that philosophy, on one particular drive throwing two passes into the end zone without success.
Mike Tomlin did go for a fourth-and-short deep in Carolina’ territory but Pittsburgh came up short. He then unsuccessfully challenged the spot of the ball.
Tomlin did win a second challenge later in the game.
One of the other major coaching decisions was how long they left some of the veterans in the game, particularly Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger played every snap of the blowout loss.
Season GPA: 2.36