The Pittsburgh Steelers enter the second half of their final preseason game trailing 17-0 after a last-second touchdown from the Carolina Panthers. The offense has mustered less than 50 yards of offense, while giving up about four times that on defense. At the moment, it would be difficult to identify anybody playing well.
The only starters to play on either side of the ball have been Arthur Moats and Shamarko Thomas, with the former seeing just one series. Thomas took a bad angle to help allow a 49-yard touchdown run before exiting the game.
Josh Scobee finally touched a ball in Steelers uniform, sending the opening kickoff of the half for…a touchback. The highlight of the game.
Vince Williams made the tackles on first and second down. On third and two, Howard Jones got around the left tackle for a blindside sack and fumble, but he was flagged for being offside, allowing a first down as a result.
L.T. Walton was the man at the bottom of the pile making a tackle after Cam Thomas chased the back after a short gain. On second and eight, Shayon Green rolled the ball carrier down from the back side to set up third down and long. Thomas got nice push up the middle to force an early throw, and B.W. Webb was in position to bat the ball away, though he may have been in contact with the receiver too early. Roosevelt Nix just locked up his practice squad spot, at least, with a blocked punt.
After two runs for a net of no gain from Josh Harris, Landry Jones threw to Tyler Murphy, coming back to the ball a bit, but short of the first down. On fourth and one, Harris was able to find a hole for the first down, running into his own receiver. Doug Legursky and Chris Hubbard flipped spots, with the former moving to center.
Harris was bottled up at the line of scrimmage on the following play. The offense had to settle for a Scobee field goal to make it 17-3. He followed it up with another touchback that nearly hit the back wall.
L.J. Fort was seemingly in coverage on a 24-yard completion in Cover 2. Fort laid a big hit to prevent a second completion, and then made the tackle on the next play for a short gain on the ground. Webb was unable to stop the receiver short of the sticks on third and long.
Terence Garvin laid a big hit in run support, but not before another first down. At the 34, Kevin Norwood made his first completion in front of Kevin Fogg just outside the red zone. Garvin twisted the tight end down for another 10 yards to the 11-yard line. An incompletion on a screen set up second and 10. Daniel McCullers brought pressure up the middle to force a bad pass and third down. Webb scrambled for six yards to set up a short field goal, making it 20-3.
Jones overthrew Shakim Phillips on first down, but pass interference was called on the play on the Panthers. His second pass intended for Sammie Coates was nearly picked off, but it would have been a very nice play. On second down, Dri Archer went down immediately for a loss on a handoff draw. Setting up third and 11, Jones was sacked. Brad Wing‘s first punt traveled 46 yards before going out of bounds at the 29.
After a couple of run stops, on third and six, the defense gave up a 24-yard rush on a draw. Doran Grant was beat on a post route, but he was quick to make the tackle. Down to the 11, Fort made the tackle on the ground after a short gain. On second down, Garvin made the stop to set up third down. Ventrone and Garvin put the pressure on Webb for a near sack, but he got the pass off, with Gerod Holliman running the receiver out of bounds. Another field goal made it 23-3.
Jones completed to Coates for 13 yards on the first play of the drive. A dump off to Harris went for five yards. On second and four, Harris was shoved out of the hole after a short gain to set up third and three. Jones threw deep to Coates, who was able to bring in the ball behind the defender for 65 yards.
After the play, Harris was bottled up again for a short gain. Jones led Jarrod West for a nine-yard gain. Harris stumbled and dove short of the line. Kelvin Palmer was injured on the play. Scobee hit his second field goal to make it 23-6. Wing held on his first field goal, Jordan Berry the second.
As has been the theme on the night, the Panthers continued to churn out chunk yardage on the ground against second- and third-stringers. After 13-yard gain, Jones, coming from the left side, was able to make a tackle for loss, however. Shayon Green made the stop on the following play. On third and 12, Garvin was able to run the back down after a reception just short of the first down.
On first down, Jones launched one to Jarrod West, making the catch for 46 yards with the coverage slipping, but the receiver could not keep his feet. Harris finally ripped through a hole for nine yards, but he too could not stay upright to minimize the potential for a big play. Jones rolled out to his left to find Phillips for 15 yards to the 22.
Will Johnson got a carry for a short gain. Jones was sacked on second down. He then forced a pass that was intercepted, taking a hit and resulting in his head bouncing off the ground. He may have to go through concussion protocols. Pass interference on defense was called on the play. Michael Vick returned to the game. On first down from the 12, he handed off to Johnson, who showed good fight for two yards, but he drew a facemask penalty to set up first and goal.
Johnson got the carry at the goal line and lowered his head down to the two. Another carry came up just short of the goal line. Both Mitchell Van Dyke and B.J. Finney were injured on the play, bringing out a cart. A knee at the one-yard line ended the game on an awfully sour note.