Backups galore as Steelers fall in preseason finale
Carolina Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne is expected to ease some of Jonathan Stewart’s load this season in the running game.
He showed Thursday night he’s up to the task.
Artis-Payne ran for 77 yards on 18 carries, and Graham Gano kicked six field goals as the Panthers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-6 in the final preseason game for both teams.
Both teams rested their starters.
Artis-Payne, a second-year player from Auburn, showed a strong burst and toughness. He also caught two passes for 18 yards, making a nifty cutback on one play to elude a defender and pick up a first down.
“Vision is a big thing for me,” Artis-Payne said of his biggest improvement since last season. “Being able to see and react to the defense. Just seeing stuff in the peripheral.”
Joe Webb started and played the entire game for the Panthers at quarterback.
Landry Jones was ineffective for the Steelers, completing 4 of 5 passes for 29 yards and registering just one first down in four possessions. He was relieved by Bryn Renner, who didn’t lead a scoring drive until the fourth quarter.
“To see the same energy (from the backups), the same intensity and same plays being made (as the starters) it lets you know that the guys understand the standards that have been set in Carolina,” Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere said.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said “the characteristics of a fourth preseason game is your ability to run the ball and stop the run. They did both better than we did.”
Steelers: Cornerback Artie Burns, the No. 25 pick in the draft, made his preseason debut after missing the last three games with a nagging quadriceps injury. He broke up a third-down pass intended for Marcus Lucas in the end zone to save a touchdown. He was a little upset at himself he didn’t come up with an interception.
Panthers: Rookie cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley, who was are expected to start, got the night off.
Steelers: Running back Daryl Richardson got the best of Fitzgerald Toussaint, rushing nine times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Toussaint is a Liberty High School graduate and former Michigan running back.
Panthers: Kevin Norwood, battling for the No. 5 receiver spot, might have had his hopes of making the 53-man roster dashed when he was carted to the locker room with a hip injury. Brenton Bersin, on the other hand, had six catches for 89 yards.
Steelers: “I’m glad I could show them what I could.” — Steelers rookie CB Artie Burns on his debut.
Steelers: Linebackers Travis Feeney (possible concussion), Anthony Chickillo (right foot) and defensive end Ricardo Mathews (neck) left early.
ROETHLISBERGER, NEWTON SIT
Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play, meaning he will head into the regular season having played only two possessions — although both of those resulted in touchdowns. League MVP Cam Newton didn’t play, either, finishing the preseason by leading 15 drives that resulted in just 13 points.