Carolina and Pittsburgh were tied at 7-all at the end of the first quarter before a crowd at Bank of America Stadium in which there appear to be more Steeler jerseys on fans than Panther jerseys.
The Steelers didn’t play their starting quarterback at all tonight, as Ben Roethlisberger rested. The Panthers played their starter only one series, as Cam Newton led the team on a 71-yard touchdown march and looked the best he had in the preseason but then gave way to Derek Anderson after that series.
Anderson had the Panthers driving on their second series. But on fourth-and-two from the Pittsburgh 35, he hit Armanti Edwards in the hands with a 5-yard pass, and Edwards (who had made two earlier catches) dropped it.
Both teams scored in impressive fashion on their opening drives. The Steelers went 80 yards in 10 plays against Carolina’s first-team defense, with Charlie Batch completing 5 of 6 passes for 50 yards and Isaac Redman ran four times for 29 yards. The only hiccup also turned into a good play for the Steelers, as Mike Wallace stretched toward the end zone from the 1, only to have the ball knocked away. But a Pittsburgh player recovered for the TD.
On the Panthers’ drive, Newton ran 19 yards on a key third-down play and linked up with Jeremy Shockey twice – the second time for a 10-yard TD after Shockey broke two tackles on the play. The Panthers also got some nice running from Jonathan Stewart on the march, which tied the game at 7-7.