Hard to find sil­ver lin­ing in Pan­thers’ loss

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - — Mar­cel Louis-Jac­ques, The Char­lotte Ob­server

PITTS­BURGH — Donte Jack­son said “it doesn’t get any bet­ter” than the Carolina Pan­thers’ Thurs­day night game against the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers. Cap­tain Mun­ner­lyn called it a chance for Carolina to prove it’s “some­thing se­ri­ous.”

The only thing the Pan­thers proved is they’re not the top-tier team they’d looked like over the past two weeks. Pitts­burgh scored on its first seven pos­ses­sions, ex­clud­ing the one where it kneeled out the end of the first half, en route to a 52-21 blowout on na­tional tele­vi­sion.

Even the bright­est op­ti­mist would have trou­ble find­ing the sil­ver lin­ing in this one. Carolina’s of­fen­sive line couldn’t pro­tect its quar­ter­back and its de­fen­sive line couldn’t pres­sure Pitts­burgh’s. Its of­fense couldn’t stay on the field on third down and its de­fense couldn’t get off. The Pan­thers’ re­ceivers didn’t sep­a­rate and its sec­ondary didn’t cover.

Ben Roeth­lis­berger was per­fect (well, he fin­ished with a per­fect passer rat­ing).

On a night where the Pan­thers couldn’t do much of any­thing, there is some­thing they can do — move on. Watch it once, then burn the tape.

Chris­tian McCaf­frey: The lone bright spot on ei­ther side of the ball for the Pan­thers caught all five of his tar­gets for 61 yards and two touch­downs and ran for 77 yards and an­other touch­down. He also strug­gled in pass pro­tec­tion through­out the night, so this comes with a bit of an as­ter­isk.

Ben Roeth­lis­berger: Per­fect. Roeth­lis­berger's night ended early in the fourth quar­ter with a per­fect, 158.3 passer rat­ing. He com­pleted 22-of-25 passes for 328 yards and five scores, prob­a­bly win­ning some­one's fan­tasy matchup for the week.

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