Pittsburgh 33 – Carolina 17

The Pittsburgh Steelers closed out the preseason with a 33-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers, posting a 3-1 mark in preseason play.
David Johnson (fumble recovery), Jonathan Dwyer (50 yard TD run), Wesyle Saunders (15 Yard TD REC) all scored touchdowns in the victory. Shaun Suisham (52 yards, 31 yards) and Swayze Waters (53 yards, 22 yards) each kicked two field goals, including 50+ yarders.
Jonathan Dwyer was the star of the game offensively, rushing for 88 yards on 13 carries, highlighted by a 50 yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Emmanuel Sanders saw his first action of the preseason, leading the Steelers with 4 receptions for 60 yards.
Several key starters including Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall and Maurkice Pouncey did not play.

Post-Game Wrapup/Thoughts

*– It is disrespectful that Mike Tomlin didn’t come out this week and name Charlie Batch his No. 2 quarterback and it’s still insane that the Steelers started Dennis Dixon over Batch last season.
Regardless of the opposition tonight, the confidence and familiarity Batch has with the Steelers offense was on display against the Carolina Panthers.
Batch was 6 of 8 for 59 yards in two series and led an 80 yard opening game scoring drive, going 5 of 6 for 50 yards.
This is Dennis Dixon’s 4th preseason/training camp with the Steelers and while his numbers improved as the game went on, he looks no different as a passer than he has in previous years.
*– Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 88 yards on 13 carries, including a 50 yard touchdown run. He showed great vision and misdirection on running plays. From where he was the first couple days of camp, Dwyer is showing signs of being a complete player, making great strides in the blocking department and picking up blitzes.
— The Steelers gradually worked Emmanuel Sanders in with the first team during the first couple series and he broke out in the second quarter, showing little rust, leading the Steelers with 4 receptions for 60 yards in the first half, including a 33 yard catch and run along the sideline with less than two minutes in the half. Sanders is a tremendous blocker for a young receiver and made a key block on Dwyers 50-yard touchdown run.
*–Curtis Brown has the best ball skills on the team at cornerback and he closes extremely well on receivers. He’s a rookie who could emerge as the season progresses in a nickle back role. He had one big mishap in coverage, getting beat by Brandon Lafell for a 45 yard reception.

*– Crezdon Butler’s ability to tackle in coverage and on special teams continues to scream “potential safety” due to his size and strength. Butler was very noticeable early on but got beat for a big passing play, getting flat footed off the line of scrimmage as Derek Anderson hit Clowney for a 41 yard touchdown.
*– The Steelers love Cortez Allen’s athleticism and you could see why on Will Allen’s 3rd quarter interception. Allen had excellent breaks on the ball, leading the Steelers with 3 pass defenses.
*– The No. 3 tight end spot is believed to be down to rookie Wesyle Saunders (3 REC – 32 YDS – 1TD) and veteran tight end John Gilmore. The Steelers should go in Saunders direction. He has the much higher upside and has outperformed Gilmore.
*– OLB Jason Worilds overall game still needs work as he struggles with his angles at times and reading the offense, but he has enough ability as a pass rusher where he could spell James Harrison or LaMarr Woodley as a situational pass rusher.
*– LB Mortty Ivy continued his bid for a roster spot, leading the Steelers with 9 tackles and recorded a sack.
*– Jeremy Kapinos averaged 63 yards (126 yards on 2 punts) on two punts and has been better than Daniel Sepulveda in camp and preseason. Sepulveda averaged 40.5 yards on two punts tonight. The belief though is that Sepulveda is still the Steelers guy.

Stats Watch

QB Charlie Batch – (5 for 6 – 60 yards)
QB Dennis Dixon – (11 for 22 – 157 Yards – 1 TD)
RB Jonathan Dwyer (13 CAR – 88 Yards – 1 TD
RB Isaac Redman (4 CAR – 29 Yards)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (4 REC – 60 Yards
WR Arnaz Battle (4 REC – 36 Yards
TE Wesyle Saunders ( 3 REC – 32 Yards
LB Mortty Ivy (9 Tackles, 7 solo, 1 sack)
DT Steve McLendon (1 tackle, 1 sack)
CB Curtis Brown (4 Tackles, 3 solo, 2 Pass Defenses
LB Jason Worilds ( 3 Tackles, 2 Solo, 1 sack)
CB Cortez Allen (2 tackles, 2 solo, 3 Pass Defenses)