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Batch sharp as Steelers top Panthers

Charlie Batch was sharp early, connecting on 6-of-8 passes for 59 yards, and Jonathan Dwyer rushed 13 times for 88 yards and a score as the Steelers downed Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 33-17 in the final game of the exhibition season.

In spite of sitting many key starters during this final preseason game, the Steelers dominated the Panthers through most of the game Thursday night on both sides of the ball, never trailing in the road win.

With only 5 minutes and 6 seconds off the clock, the Steelers put up their first points of the game. The touchdown came after quarterback Charlie Batch completed a pass to Mike Wallace, which Wallace fumbled. The ball was recovered by Steeler tight end David Johnson, giving the Steelers their first lead of the game at 7-0.

The Panthers answered on the next drive, going 71 yards on 9 plays, capped by the first touchdown pass for first-overall pick Cam Newton’s career.

The offensive units of both teams were quiet throughout most of the remainder of the second quarter until Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer broke out for a 50 yard touchdown run with 8:51 left till the half.

The Panthers answered again, this time on a 41 yard touchdown pass from Derek Anderson to wide reciever David Clowney to tie it back up.

Before the end of the quarter the Steelers would put up six more points on Shaun Suisham field goals, the first at 52 yards and the second at 31 yards. Heading into the half, the Steelers were leading by a score of 20-14, a deficit the Panthers could never overcome.

The third quarter was quiet offensively, with both teams scoring on field goal attempts. The quarter ended with the ball in possession of the Steelers after Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen was picked off by Steeler Safety Will Allan. That drive would end in a Swayze Waters 53-yard field goal with 14:54 left the game.  

The final scoring drive of the game occurred after the Panthers center never got the snap off, and fumbled into his own leg, which was recovered by Steelers defensive end Corbin Bryant on the Carolina 15 yard line. Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon capitalized on the field position with a 15 yard touchdown pass to tight end Wesyle Saunders.

The win gave the Steelers a 3-1 preseason record. On Sunday, September 11, the Steelers will open the regular season in Baltimore against the Ravens.

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