It would have been tough for the lowly Carolina Panthers to come into Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they didn't even put up much of a fight. The final score was 27-3, but it really wasn't even that close. Pittsburgh's defense did what it usually does, and their offense got the ball down the field easily through the air.
All this was enough to make SB Nation's Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader lament the death of Carolina's once-potent deep passing game.
I wish I could say the Panthers put up a bold fight but honestly this one was over in the 1st quarter. The Steelers displayed the type of vertical passing game the Panthers had in years past. In those days Steve Smith was a threat to go deep on any play. These days he catches a couple sideline passes and calls it a day.
It's tough to blame Smith exclusively for the loss when Jimmy Clausen struggled like he did. It's also tough to ask Clausen to be successful in an environment like the one he was presented with last night, in the frigid temperatures of Pittsburgh against an elite defense. But of all the games this season, the loss to Pittsburgh illustrated just how far Carolina has fallen from its heyday. Two years ago, this team was in the playoffs. Last year at this time, they were acting as spoilers due to a hot finish. Now, though, they are in shambles.