The initial diversion of Week 10 had a makings of a huge onslaught between a span of teams with aspirations of a outing to Atlanta and Super Bowl LIII.
Instead, a Pittsburgh Steelers scored their many points ever during Heinz Field while looking like a genuine deal, and a Carolina Panthers were unprotected in a 52-21 thrashing as a NFL homogeneous of the Titanic.
Big and bad on a surface, yet unfailing to breeze adult sunk since of deadly flaws.
The Panthers came into a diversion with a good conduct of steam. They were roving a three-game winning strain that enclosed a stirring fourth-quarter quip in Philadelphia opposite a fortifying Super Bowl champions.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
When Cam Newton found Christian McCaffrey from 20 yards out to top Carolina’s opening expostulate with a touchdown, it felt like a Panthers were there to play. That they were perplexing to send a summary that they belonged in a review with a New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams among a NFC’s best teams.
That feeling didn’t final long.
On Pittsburgh’s initial descent play of a game, Panthers cornerback James Bradberry bit on an underneath track and let Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster get behind him, and 75 yards after a diversion was tied.
Things went downhill from there—quickly.
On Carolina’s really subsequent play, Newton committed a principal impiety of quarterbacking. Did a one thing that an NFL quarterback contingency never, ever do. Did something that an gifted signal-caller like him should know improved than to do.
With outward linebacker T.J. Watt unresolved off him and about to lift him down for a safety, Newton threw a round adult for grabs.
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It was grabbed, all right—by Steelers linebacker Vince Williams. He raced into a finish section for Pittsburgh’s second touchdown in 14 seconds, and a Panthers were in a 14-7 hole usually like that.
As it turns out, a digging of that hole was usually usually beginning.
Now, before we get any serve into this, it’s usually satisfactory that a Steelers get due credit for a can of you-know-what they non-stop on a Panthers. It was an astoundingly consummate beatdown. The Steelers piled adult 457 yards of sum offense and would simply have had over 500 had they not pulled their starters. Pittsburgh hold Carolina to 242 sum yards.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was radically perfect. In throwing for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns with usually 3 incompletions, Roethlisberger posted a ideal 158.3 passer rating. After a game, Roethlisberger lauded a whole team’s bid while vocalization to Pam Oliver of Fox Sports.
“We have a lot of weapons and a O-line protects well,” he said. “It was some-more than usually a offense. Our invulnerability finished a play and scored. Special teams got a turnover inside a red section for us. We usually found ways to gain when we indispensable to. A good group win opposite a good team.”Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
The Pittsburgh Steelers bearing themselves precisely into that review Thursday, winning their fifth true diversion about as emphatically as a diversion can be won.
On a other side, though, any speak of a Panthers as being on a same turn as a Saints and Rams is done. Finished. Through.
Outside of McCaffrey’s 138 sum yards (over half a team’s total) and 3 touchdowns, there wasn’t a singular facet of a diversion in that a Panthers weren’t awful.
Offensively, there was zero going on outward McCaffrey—in vast partial since a line play was atrocious. Newton was sacked 5 times and strike 7 more. Even when he did have time to throw, all Carolina could conduct was underneath shots. Newton averaged usually 6.7 yards per attempt, and a longest locate of a night by someone not named Christian McCaffrey went for 15 yards.
This, opposite a Pittsburgh invulnerability that entered a diversion a ho-hum 21st in a NFL opposite a pass.
Carolina’s invulnerability was even worse. In further to that large diversion from Roethlisberger, a Panthers’ 11th-ranked invulnerability authorised 138 yards on a belligerent during 4.6 yards a pop. The Steelers were 8-of-11 on third down, averaged roughly 8 yards per play and had a span of scores from over 50 yards out.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Pittsburgh’s initial 8 drives finished as follows—touchdown, touchdown, margin goal, touchdown, finish of half, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. Seriously.
This Carolina group is going to hang with a descent hum saws that are a Saints and Rams? Um, no.
Throw in a span of back-breaking turnovers and we have a recipe for one of a misfortune waste in authorization history. The 52 points Carolina authorised is a many in an NFL diversion this year and ties a many a Panthers have ever allowed.
Frankly, there had been some warning signs this year that these Panthers weren’t as good as their record. This is a same group that mislaid on a highway to an injury-ravaged Atlanta Falcons franchise in Week 2. A group that fell behind a Eagles 17-0 before entertainment that large quip a few weeks ago. A group that led a so-so (to be kind) Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad 35-7 in Week 9 before vouchsafing Tampa come all a approach behind to within 7 points.
Prior to Week 10, a Panthers had been means to mostly overcome their flaws, though—especially during home.
Thursday, each final one of those flaws was exposed.
This isn’t to contend that Cam Newton and a Panthers are a bad football team. They’re good—especially during Bank of America Stadium, where they have won 10 true dating behind to final year. It’s wholly illusive that they will again acquire a wild-card berth—just as they did final year.
It’s equally illusive that they will remove in a Wild Card Round—just as they did final year.Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Carolina’s offense is one-dimensional and struggles to pull a round downfield. If opponents shell a center and force McCaffrey to try collect it adult (with a user word being “try”), they will vigour Newton and force him to make mistakes. The invulnerability is disposed to permitting points in bunches—80 over a final 8 buliding of football.
Any of those flaws will get we kick in a postseason. All were glaringly apparent in Week 10.
After a loss, Panthers conduct manager Ron Rivera pronounced in a postgame presser his summary to his group was simple—move on.
“There’s no sorcery pill,” Rivera said. “I told that to a players in there in a locker room. At a finish of a day, get this one out of your complement and pierce forward.”
Rivera is right that there’s zero Carolina can do from here yet pierce on, yet it’s a contrition there’s no sorcery pill.
That’s a usually approach these Panthers are creation a low playoff run.