Steelers-Panthers: 10 things to know from Pittsburgh's 37-19 win

After dominating the Browns in the first half of Week 1, the Steelers offense had been putrid in the eight quarters since. They scored six points in the second half vs. Cleveland to barely hold off the Browns, and Pittsburgh was listless last week in its 26-6 loss to the Ravens.

But in the Steelers 37-19 win vs. the Panthers on Sunday night, they discovered just what will make Pittsburgh's offense go. Namely this: a no-huddle offense that features Ben Roethlisberger making quick, short throws to his receivers while mixing in plenty of rushes for Le'Veon Bell.

First, Bell had a fantastic day, using his patience and finding his holes in the offensive line to rush 21 times for 147 yards.

"He has a chance to be one of the best all-around backs in the league," Roethlisberger told NBC after the game. "He can run, he can catch, he can block. He can do it all."

And while the Panthers were trying to stop the Steelers running game, which also got 118 yards on 10 carries from LaGarrette Blount, Roethlisberger used a variety of screens, slants and short passes over the middle to complete 73.3 percent of his passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

By NBC's stopwatch, some of Roethlisberger's snap-to-throw measurements were between 1.20 and 1.33 seconds. Short, fast throws.

And lo and behold, it resulted in three offensive touchdowns -- two of which were to Antonio Brown and the first of which came on a bad encroachment penalty by the Panthers that turned a short Steelers field goal attempt into a 7-yard score from Roethlisberger to Brown.

Then, Bell topped it off with an 81-yard rushing gain that turned out to be a history-making run.

That's John Fuqua, who recorded an 85-yard rushing gain in 1970.

Brown, meanwhile, finished with 10 catches for 90 yards and two scores, and midway through the second quarter, he had already accomplished this.

Why did the Panthers not run the ball?

With the Steelers ranking 29th in the NFL with 174 rushing yards allowed per game, it would have made sense for the Panthers to pound the ball with their running game. Sure, DeAngelo Williams wasn't suited up and yeah, Jonathan Stewart only had recorded 24 carries for 57 yards this season, but still.

At halftime, the Panthers had 10 rushing yards on five carries.

Most likely, that lack of production probably wasn't in the gameplan.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said at halftime he wanted to make sure his team stuck with its running attack, and on Carolina's first play in the second half, Stewart ripped off a 15-yard gain. But he suffered a knee contusion later in the quarter, and once the Steelers took a big lead, Carolina -- which finished with 42 rushing yards -- had to go with its passing game.

WR Philly Brown gets first career start, badly muffs punt

Without Jerricho Cotchery in the lineup, Philly Brown got his first NFL start at receiver ahead of Jason Avant.

Entering the game, Brown had made only one catch for 11 yards in the first two games of the year, but on the first drive alone, he recorded two receptions for 20 yards.

Brown, an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, didn't have a great training camp, but the Panthers like him as a punt returner and kick returner. And heading into Sunday night, they liked him as a receiver.

But his biggest impact in the game was muffing a punt with the Panthers losing 23-13, picking it up and then fumbling the ball into the end zone and ... well, here it is ...

Obviously, that was less than ideal for the Panthers.

Still, at least Brown has this going for him.

Cam Newton took a beating

For a guy who's coming off broken ribs, the Panthers quarterback took a number of shots by hungry Steelers defenders.

Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward blasted Newton at least twice, and on one scramble as he was trying to get out of bounds, linebacker Ryan Shazier knocked Newton in the helmet with his elbow AND his knee.

While Newton, who was sacked three times, limped off the field more than once, he repeatedly stood in the pocket and took his licks, including a nasty hit at his knees by Jason Worilds. But he got plenty of praise for his vigor.

Watch out, Joey Porter!

Quite naturally, the Steelers reveled in their ability to hit Newton almost at will.

Did Wheaton catch a TD or not?

A brief controversy surrounded the game midway through the second quarter when Roethlisberger threw a blazing pass to Markus Wheaton, who caught the ball on the sideline in the end zone for the touchdown.

But the officials ruled Wheaton had stepped out of bounds and had not reestablished himself back in the field of play before touching the ball.

On the replays, it was tough to tell if Wheaton actually had stepped out of bounds, but the Steelers didn't challenge, probably because there was no clear replay available on that sideline. Which seems fairly impossible.

Or maybe Pittsburgh should have challenged anyway.

Either way, the Steelers kicked a short field goal to take a 6-3 lead.

For the first time this season, the Steelers actually caused a turnover

Behold ...

That photo might look like an oil painting, but damn if it wasn't a work of art.

And sure, it might have been sort of accidental as Jarvis Jones unknowingly ran into Newton's elbow, but Pittsburgh will take it.

A replacement for Hardy?

While Greg Hardy was placed on the exempt/commissioner's permission list this past week -- meaning he can't play but still will be paid -- that meant Mario Addison got to make another big play on the opposing quarterback.

After recording 2.5 sacks in Week 2, Addison was at it again vs. the Steelers, pulling down Roethlisberger near the end of the first quarter. Two plays later, on third down, Addison hit Roethlisberger as he was throwing, and though the pass was ruled incomplete, it appeared as if Roethlisberger's arm might not have been coming forward when Addison displaced the ball. Which would have been a fumble.


The game continued on, though, without a challenge.

And unfortunately for the Panthers, Addison finished with that one tackle.

Injury report

Early in the third quarter, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor seriously injured his arm after Lawrence Timmons hit it with his helmet as they were tackling a Carolina player. I won't show you a screenshot of that, but it was nasty.

A play after that, Carolina's Stewart left the game with a right knee contusion and didn't return to the game.

Also for the Steelers, Shazier left the game with a knee injury and did not return. A few minutes after he forced the Newton fumble, Jones had to leave the game with a wrist injury. That left Pittsburgh without two of its starting linebackers.

Backup QBs galore

After playing the hero in Week 1, Derek Anderson entered the game in the fourth quarter with the Panthers well behind and with Newton getting hit at will.

And what do you know, he threw a nice touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.

Late in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger was replaced by Steelers backup Bruce Gradkowski. It was his first appearance in a game since 2012. 

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