Hard to find silver lining in Panthers’ loss
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.