After a week of disappointment following a tough loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 in which they were bullied in the trenches on both sides of the football, the Pittsburgh Steelers responded in a massive way Sunday on the road at Bank of America Stadium against the Carolina Panthers in a 24-16 win.
Throughout the Week 15 matchup against the Panthers, the Steelers largely did whatever they wanted on the ground, rushing for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 45 carries, establishing the run game early and often, winning at the line of scrimmage throughout to impose their will and roll to the 8-point win to move to 6-8 on the season.
Following the win over the Panthers, second-year left tackle Dan Moore Jr. stated to reporters inside the locker room that the offensive line stepped up to the challenge thrown down by head coach Mike Tomlin earlier in the week, getting after the Panthers in a big way at the point of attack, leading to a ton of success.
“Coach T [Tomlin] challenged the offensive line at the beginning of the week. So, we knew what type of game we wanted it to be,” Moore Jr. stated to reporters, according to video via Steelers.com. “We just went out there. We had to execute. I mean, it’s all 11 guys. Najee [Harris] ran great. Quarterback was doing really good, wide receivers catching balls inbounds man keeping us in play on possession downs. I mean, it was all 11 guys.”
The Steelers came out of the gate fast on the ground, running the football seven times on the 12-play, 67-yard drive before Harris punched in his sixth rushing touchdown of the season from seven yards out, giving the Steelers an early 7-0 lead after a Carolina three-and-out to open the game.
Pittsburgh’s dominance on the ground was no more apparent than in the second half when the Steelers embarked on a 21-play, 91-yard drive to open the second half in which the Steelers ran the football 14 times, consistently causing the pile to fall forward, wearing down the Panthers in the war of attrition, as Tomlin likes to say.
The gameplan was the right one for the matchup, and the offensive line answered the challenge once week after really struggling. Though the Steelers averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on the day, the 156 yards on 45 carries wore down the Panthers, leading to the Steelers’ sixth win of the season.