The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 4th and final preseason game is set to begin in one hour as the team traveled to Carolina to face the Panthers. By all reports, the Panthers are treating tonight’s game as a tune-up game, similar to how the Steelers treated last week’s game against the Lions with the Starters getting a quarter or so of play.
This presents a great opportunity for Dwayne Haskins, who was named the starter for tonight as Mason Rudolph and Ben Roethlisberger will not suit up. Haskins will have likely his last chance of the year to leave an impression on the Steelers coaches and front office as an important data point in formulating future plans.
Benny Snell Jr. is also set to return after missing most of the preseason and training camp with an injury. Last time he suited up in practice, he was the clear number two behind Najee Harris, but after missing so much time and after the performance of Anthony McFarland Jr. and Kalen Ballage, Snell is now likely fighting for his roster spot.
Be sure to check out Dave Bryan’s breakdown of the players to watch for tonight:
Mike Tomlin announced that Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Ray-Ray McCloud will play tonight. These are the targets that Dwayne Haskins will have at his disposal. He will be without Najee Harris, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Diontae Johnson at the very least.
Let’s check in on some bold predictions around twitter:
Dwayne Haskins is out there as the lone captain for the Steelers squad tonight. The Panthers won the toss and will defer. Haskins and the Steelers offense will start the game out.
On first down, Benny Snell got stopped around the line of scrimmage. Dwayne Haskins rolled out to the right on second down, but Jaycee Horn had excellent coverage on Chase Claypool and the ball fell incomplete. On 3rd down, Haskins checked down to Snell, but it was well short of the sticks.
The first drive ends in a Jordan Berry punt.
On first, Sam Darnold hit his receiver in the flats on a screen and James Pierre was able to prevent the large gain. The Panthers offense is currently moving down the field with ease though as they are close to crossing the mid field mark.
The Carolina offense tested James Pierre again on a screen pass, but he sniffed it out and brought the receiver down for no gain to bring up 3rd and 6.
Tre Norwood in coverage on 3rd down, but the receiver was able to reach across for the first down.
The Panthers starters are carving up the Steelers backups a bit, as they probably should. A big third and short here in the redzone.
The Steelers stuffed the Panthers on 3rd down, and they opted to go for it on 4th. The pressure was on, forcing Darnold to retreat way back out of the pocket and ultimately throw incomplete. The backups successfully forced a turnover on downs.
Dwayne Haskins will get his second chance starting from his own 20 yard line. On first down, an incomplete pass to James Washington.
Benny Snell created a couple yards on his own there as he was immediately swallowed up by the defense, but he span away from the initial defender. 3rd and 7 now, Haskins to Ray-Ray McCloud on a shallow crosser, but it was well short of the sticks. Haskins needs to seize his opportunity and take some shots down field for the 1st down.
Another quick three-and-out followed by a Pressley Harvin III.
On first down for the Panthers, Sam Darnold complete and Marcus Allen tackled the catch pretty well. Allen is flying around and looking pretty good against the Panthers starters right now.
The Panthers almost down in the redzone again. A Sam Darnold scramble created a 3rd and manageable, but their fullback couldn’t punch it in for the first down. The Panthers are opting to kick this time.
The kick bounced off the right upright, but barely dribbled in for a successful field goal. 3-0 Panthers.
The Steelers backups are allowing a lot of yards, but holding strong where it counts.
The kickoff sailed out of the back of the end zone, but the refs called the kick back as they hadn’t signaled that they were ready. The outcome ended up being the same.
Kevin Rader got in a little scuffle on the kickoff. On first down, Haskins was a bit behind Derek Watt, who tipped the ball up and it was intercepted.
On first down, Sam Darnold stepped up into the pressure and Jamir Jones and Chris Wormley were in on the sack.
Incomplete on 2nd down for Darnold in the middle of the field which brings up 3rd and 16. Darnold dropped back and had his eyes down field, but the Steelers pass rush gets home. It probably should have been a sack or intentional grounding, but they credit it as an incompletion.
Jamir Jones and Chris Wormley in on this near sack.
Well, the offense has been atrocious for the Steelers, but the defense is standing tall against the Panthers starters. The refs confirmed that it was an incomplete pass, but probably should have been a fumble, or any number of other outcomes.
Joey Slye missed the field goal opportunity for the Panthers.
On first down, a handoff to Benny Snell who was brought down for a gain of 1 up the middle. On second, the Steelers doubled their yardage output on the night with a first down strike to Chase Claypool.
Haskins dropped the shotgun snap on 1st and recovered it himself for a loss of 5.
Dwayne Haskins arm strength is very apparent as he zipped a ball to Ray-Ray McCloud on 3rd down. It should have been a 1st down, but McCloud couldn’t haul it in. The Steelers offense is taking baby steps, getting its first 1st down, but stalling out after that.
Tre Norwood nearly got the interception on 3rd down, but it bounced off his hands. The Panthers will punt again.
On the punt, Matthew Sexton botched the catch and fumbled the football. The Panthers recovered and got the touchdown, but you are unable to advance the football on a punt fumble like that, so the Panthers will have the ball on the 15 yard line.
Here is another chance for the Steelers depth defenders to show their grit, especially with the sudden change. On first down Cassius Marsh brings the running back down from behind for a gain of two.
On 2nd down, a screen pass and the Panthers easily score. 10-0 Panthers.
Good ball placement by Haskins on first down to Ray-Ray McCloud, but he couldn’t quite get his second foot inbounds. Benny Snell with his best run of the night on the next play to get the first down.
Claypool with another first down on a motion sweep. Haskins nearly sacked for a huge loss on the next play, but span away and was able to scramble for a couple yards.
The drive stalled out on a 3rd down incompletion intended for McCloud. Pressley Harvin III with a very high punt, that thing felt like it went straight up. It came down inside the 20, but the return man returned it to just outside the 20.
The Panthers are putting together another drive before the half here as they across the midfield mark at the 2:00 warning.
Darnold ultimately hit Robby Anderson in the endzone for the touchdown. Robert Spillane exposed in coverage once again. 17-0 Panthers.
There is 00:16 remaining and Haskins dropped back for a pass. He was nearly sacked but got away. Dan Moore got away with a hold there, not that it matters.
END OF HALF 17-0 PANTHERS.
Join us for the second half here.