Panthers vs. Steelers: Pittsburgh will face Cam Newton and Carolina's offensive starters

Neal Coolong

The Steelers and Panthers both struggled in their third preseason games, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera says his starting offense will see game action against the Steelers Thursday.

It turns out, the Steelers weren't the only team to blow their dress rehearsal.

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Saturday his team's starting unit struggled enough against New England in a 30-7 loss, his first offensive unit will be out there again when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in the teams' traditional fourth preseason game.

The two teams have played each other in the preseason finale for 12 consecutive seasons.

"It was very evident that we've got to get (Newton) out there," Rivera told the media Friday. "We've got to get our quarterback out on the field, and he's got to get some timing with those guys."

Newton was injured in that game, suffering a lower back contusion in the loss. X-rays taken after the game were negative.

"I knew they had to play (against the Steelers), but just how much was really dependent on how well they played (Friday)," Rivera said. "And obviously we didn't play well enough."

Neither did the Steelers in their 31-21 loss to Philadelphia Thursday. Pittsburgh's starters played well into the third quarter, finally getting a touchdown drive capped off by a 27-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller. It came against Philadelphia's second-team defense. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has not made a statement on how much his starting units will play, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see them back out there to get a little bit more work.

Teams must cut their rosters from 90 down to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday and from 75 down to 53 by Aug. 31. Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland in their season-opener Sept. 7.

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