Some thoughts on the Carolina-Pittsburgh preseason game as the Panthers' exhibition season limps to a merciful close:
-- It was really nasty for Carolina -- especially when the starters were in the game. The Panther offensive and defensive regulars each played two series apiece before retiring for the night in the team’s final preseason game against Pittsburgh. It was a close call as to which one was worse. Here’s a brief review.
-- Panthers offense: Two series and one total first down. One dropped pass (by Muhsin Muhammad). One third-and-1 run that lost two yards. One sack of Jake Delhomme. One tipped Delhomme pass at the line. One first down (a pass to Muhammad). No touches for Steve Smith.
Panthers defense: Two series. One excellent three-and-out (while facing Ben Roethlisberger in his only action – he threw one pass before leaving). One horrid touchdown allowed.
On the TD, the Carolina D allowed Pittsburgh’s third-string running back Isaac Redman to roll right through five attempted tackles for a 10-yard scoring run. Among the men who missed or bounced off Redman: safety Chris Harris and defensive end Julius Peppers. And bear in mind, that was Pittsburgh's second-team offense out there blocking, too.
On that desultory note, the Panther defense was done for the night. It was 14-0, Pittsburgh, when the last Panther starter left the field. In other words, it was par for the course during this Carolina preseason.
-- Pittsburgh’s other early touchdown came courtesy of an 80-yard punt return by the Steelers’ Stefan Logan. Logan completed that run only 100 seconds into the game and was greeted by an onslaught of Terrible Towels – at least one third of the fans in attendance seemed to be for the Steelers. They all were having a good time, at least, on a gorgeous night for football.
-- Again, Panther rookie Mike Goodson looked very good at times but his fumbling problems continued – he lost one inside the Pittsburgh 5 in the second quarter.
-- The best individual play made by any Panther in the first half was a beautiful one-handed catch by tight end Dante Rosario that would have resulted in about a 25-yard gain. Sadly, it was nullified by an illegal motion penalty on Kenneth Moore.
-- Funny moment during the coin toss. Because of the referee’s open mike, you could hear the Panthers win the toss and take the ball, followed by a Steeler shouting playfully: “We didn’t want it anyway!”