Final

Steelers 33

(3-1, 1-1 away)

Panthers 17

(1-3, 1-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, September 1, 2011

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 7 13 3 1033
CAR 7 7 3 017

Cam Newton officially named starter for Panthers after loss to Steelers

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton was treated like a starter during his preseason finale. He led one efficient drive, threw a touchdown pass and exited.

Then, after the game, his coach made it official: Newton will start for the Carolina Panthers in their opener.

Newton threw his first TD as a pro in Carolina's 33-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

"Even with this position given, it doesn't stop here," Newton said. "I can't just sit back and say, `I've arrived,' because we've got a long way to go. ... The record begins now."

The Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 draft pick out of Auburn played only the first series. He was 3 of 5 for 25 yards with the 10-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Shockey against a Steelers defense that rested Troy Polamalu and several other key players. Rivera later anointed Newton as their starter Sept. 11 at Arizona.

"We didn't draft Cam to be the savior," Rivera said. "We drafted him to help lead this football team."

Charlie Batch started for Pittsburgh and was 6 of 8 for 59 yards and led a touchdown drive while playing roughly one quarter. He and Dennis Dixon are competing to back up Ben Roethlisberger, who also sat this one out.

"We asked them to come in and run some different things, with some different personnel, and I think they both showed great poise in that," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who called it "a good ending to a nice preseason for us."

Not many starters played for either team during what essentially was one last audition for players battling for roster spots and position on the depth chart, with cuts coming Saturday.

Polamalu, James Harrison and many of the other Pittsburgh starters didn't see the field for a unit that last season ranked second in the league in total defense, was its toughest against the run and helped the Steelers make their eighth Super Bowl appearance.

Without them standing in the way, Newton appeared quite comfortable.

He took just nine snaps, but that was enough to show off the combination of speed and arm strength that has the Panthers hoping he can revive the league's worst offense in 2010.

He led the Panthers 71 yards to a touchdown, and his only carry of that drive was a 19-yard run in which he took off from the pocket and made a nifty cut left to the Pittsburgh 22. That set up the touchdown pass four plays later, when he dropped back and hit Shockey with a quick strike inside the 10. The veteran tight end slipped out of Ryan Mundy's grasp on his way to the end zone to make it 7-all.

"Tonight went just how we would like it to go, with our offense playing one series," tackle Jordan Gross said. "Cam looked like he was playing his best football."

Newton's most impressive play, though, might have been his first incompletion. As Larry Foote was bringing him down during a rollout, Newton managed to fling the ball roughly 30 yards near the sideline to Shockey before Mundy broke up the pass.

"I had him in the grasp, but he's really strong," Foote said. "I struggled getting him down."

Derek Anderson replaced Newton, before Jimmy Clausen took over for him late in the third quarter. Rivera had said before the game that Newton and the starters would play at most a couple of series.

Meanwhile, Tomlin wasn't about to play many of his at all. With the opener against Baltimore 10 days away, Roethlisberger was held out of this one and watched from the sideline while Batch and Dixon continued their battle to replace the injured Byron Leftwich as the top backup.

Batch entered having thrown only four passes this preseason, but he was 5 of 6 for 60 yards on his opening drive alone and led the Steelers to a touchdown against much of Carolina's starting defense. Batch hit Mike Wallace with a quick strike inside the 10-yard line, but the receiver fumbled as he was hit near the goal line by Chris Gamble, and David Johnson recovered in the end zone to make it 7-0.

"It was good to get the rust out a little bit," Batch said. "It's one of those things where you go back and there were a lot of different things that we were working on. I was able to move a little bit, read (the) blitz and move to hot routes."

Backups for both teams turned in big scoring plays in the second quarter: Jonathan Dwyer had a 50-yard touchdown run for Pittsburgh and Anderson hit David Clowney with a 41-yard scoring pass to tie it at 14.

Anderson finished 11 of 19 for 192 yards. Clausen was 3 of 5 for 25 yards, and a fumbled snap to him by center Ryan Pugh deep inside Panthers territory set up Dixon's 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie Weslye Saunders. That made it a 16-point game barely a minute into the fourth quarter. Dixon finished 11 of 22 for 157 yards.

"I'm happy the opportunity came my way, and I tried to make the most of it," Dixon said.

Game notes


The Panthers finished the preseason 1-3 and lost three straight. The Steelers were 3-1 and won three straight. ... FB Jerome Felton, claimed by Carolina off waivers from Detroit earlier in the day, not only was in uniform but had a 3-yard carry on the opening drive. ... Steelers CBs Cortez Allen and Bryant McFadden were in uniform for the first time this preseason. ... Panthers backup LT Garry Williams injured his lower left leg early in the second quarter and did not return. ... Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham kicked a 52-yard field goal, and Swayze Waters kicked a 53-yard field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
CAR
1st Downs1822
Passing 1st downs
1111
Rushing 1st downs
67
1st downs from Penalties
14
3rd down efficiency
4-136-13
4th down efficiency
0-00-3
Total Plays6168
Total Yards362375
Yards per play5.95.5
Total Drives1212
Passing208280
Comp - Att
17-3021-41
Yards per pass
6.96.8
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-84-24
Rushing15495
Rushing Attempts
3023
Yards per rush
5.14.1
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-41-4
Penalties11-993-40
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession30:0030:00

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dixon11/221577.1101-8
Batch6/8597.4000-0
CARC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Anderson11/1919210.1101-8
Clausen7/17875.1013-16

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dwyer13886.8150
Clay7304.3012
CARCARYDSAVGTDLG
Goodson7314.4011
Vaughan6254.208

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Sanders46015.00335
Lyons13838.00384
CARRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wright35117.00237
Clowney24522.51412

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITCAR
pitTD09:54David Johnson Recovered Fumble In End Zone (Shaun Suisham Kick) 70
carTD06:07Jeremy Shockey 10 Yd Pass From Cam Newton (Olindo Mare Kick) 77
SECOND QUARTERPITCAR
pitTD08:40Jonathan Dwyer 50 Yd Run (Shaun Suisham Kick) 147
carTD06:56David Clowney 41 Yd Pass From Derek Anderson (Adi Kunalic Kick) 1414
pitFG04:44Shaun Suisham 52 Yd 1714
pitFG00:18Shaun Suisham 31 Yd 2014
THIRD QUARTERPITCAR
carFG10:11Adi Kunalic 20 Yd 2017
pitFG03:28Swayze Waters 22 Yd 2317
FOURTH QUARTERPITCAR
pitFG14:49Swayze Waters 53 Yd 2617
pitTD13:56Weslye Saunders 15 Yd Pass From Dennis Dixon (Swayze Waters Kick) 3317