The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of business on Thursday Night Football, easily dispatching the Carolina Panthers. Against the clearly over-matched Panthers, the Steelers powered to a 20-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 27-3 win. The Pittsburgh defense, playing without Troy Polamalu again, was dominant, holding Carolina to just 119 total yards of offense and only giving up a field goal after the Panthers had a short field to work with.
Sean Suisham opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 26-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Pittsburgh turned it on with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace. It was the ground game on display during the next drive as Rashard Mendenhall found the end zone from one yard out to put the Steelers up by 17. Another Suisham field goal capped the half and put the Steelers in complete control.
The second half meant more of a defensive struggle. The Steelers found the end zone once again when Ben Roethlisberger kept it himself, sneaking in from one-yard out. Carolina finally got itself on the board, using excellent field position to come away with a field goal, the only points the Panthers put up all day.
Roethlisberger had a great day in the passing game, throwing for 320 yards and a touchdown. Mendenhall added 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Mike Wallace had a game-high 104 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
The Carolina stat lines weren’t as friendly. Jimmy Clausen had a rough day at quarterback against the vaunted Steelers’ defense, throwing for 72 yards and an interception on 10-23 passing. Jonathan Stewart was able to make some headway on the ground, rushing for 71 yards on 18 carries. Mike Goodsen led the Panthers with 23 yards on two catches.
The win kept the Steelers in front of the race for home-field advantage. A week 17 win over the Cleveland Browns, or a Baltimore Ravens loss this Sunday, gives the Steelers that all-important first-round bye. The Panthers, on the other hand, are in control of their own destiny for another prize: the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.