Steelers @ Panthers
Final Score: Steelers 24, Panthers 16
Writer: Justin Herrera (@Semtexmex93 on Twitter)
The Steelers traveled to the “Queen City,” Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Carolina Panthers in a must-win for both teams if they wish to stay in the “hunt” for a playoff spot in their respective conferences. Going into this game, the Steelers were without Kenny Pickett and started Mitch Trubisky this game. This set up the “epic” battle of two former top 3 draft picks. The Steelers, behind their defense and the run game, stayed in control of the lead for just about the entire game, with the Panthers showing some fight late but coming up short due to their inability to get in the endzone. The game result was the Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Carolina Panthers 16.
Mitch Trubisky: 17/22, 179 Yards | 6 Carries, 9 Yards, TD
Kenny Pickett didn’t start due to a concussion on Sunday, so Mitch Trubisky came to the rescue. Trubisky got started on the first drive completing all four passes for 26 yards and rushing for 4. Helping to get his team into the red zone for a Najee Harris touchdown. On the next drive, he would make a 38-yard connection with George Pickens to get the Steelers into the red zone for a Jaylen Warren rushing TD. Trubisky would go three of five for 29 yards to finish up the last two drives of the half.
Trubisky came out and completed five of six passes to Diontae Johnson for 56 yards and ended up QB sneaking in a one-yard touchdown. The Steelers would score two drives again later, with Trubisky completing two passes to Johnson for 28 yards and helping to set up a game-sealing field goal. Trubisky played his role as “game manager” well this week, but if the Steelers are legitimately looking at the playoffs, then they should hope Pickett is back for Week 16.
Mitch Trubisky: 17-for-22 for 179 yards, no turnovers. pic.twitter.com/RjwsuufcT1
— Josh Graham (@JoshGrahamRadio) December 18, 2022
Najee Harris: 24 Carries, 86 Yards, TD
Jaylen Warren: 11 Carries, 38 Yards, TD | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 11 Yards
Derek Watt: 1 Carry, 2 Yards
Najee Harris got off to a great start in this game, rushing four times for 30 yards and a touchdown. One person that loved this was Coach Mike Tomlin, who was seen flexing afterward, celebrating his team’s TD. Harris was explosive this week, running for 3.58 yards per carry. Harris almost scored one more touchdown on the team’s second-half opening drive. He came up one yard short after a big nine-yard run, but his QB sneaked it home for the score.
Jaylen Warren got more involved this week with 49 yards from scrimmage and a TD on 12 touches. His biggest drive came on the Steeler’s second TD drive, where he ran the ball four times for 15 yards and a TD.
Najee Harris with a Touchdown 🤩🔥pic.twitter.com/Zr74Uo8uOE
— Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) December 18, 2022
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Diontae Johnson: 10 Targets, 10 Receptions, 98 Yards | 1 Carry, 2 Yards
George Pickens: 5 Targets, 2 Receptions, 53 Yards
Steven Sims: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 10 Yards | 2 Carries, 19 Yards
Zach Gentry: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 4 Yards
Gunner Olszewski: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 3 Yards
Miles Boykin: 1 Target, 1 Reception
“It’s really important to us… We want to finish out strong for him."
After the @Steelers 24-16 win in Carolina, Diontae Johnson talked about Mike Tomlin’s 15 year streak of seasons with a record of .500 better.
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) December 18, 2022
Diontae Johnson had one of those games that fantasy managers signed up for when they drafted him. Johnson caught all ten of his targets for 98 yards. His best drive came on the first one after the half time where Johnson caught all five of his passes for 56 yards and was a move or two away from scoring his first touchdown of the season. That’s right; Johnson hasn’t scored once this season; crazy! Overall he looked good this week against a defense that’s been solid in the last month, and hopefully, Kenny Pickett took notes because Johnson is a force when you feed him targets.
George Pickens caught two passes for 53 yards. The biggest one came early in the game in man coverage, where he out-positioned his defender and caught the ball for 38 yards. Steven Sims had three touches for 29 yards, with his biggest play being a 22-yard end around. The rest of the receiving core logged three catches for seven yards.
Sam Darnold: 14/23, 225 Yards, TD | 2 Carries, 2 Yards
Sam Darnold once again had a decent game for the “in the hunt” Panthers. On the second drive of the game, Carolina got away from the run game and went to the air. Darnold completed six of seven passes for 93 yards, throwing four passes of 13 or more yards. His biggest throw of the game came on this drive with a 40-yard “go” route to Terrace Marshall Jr, which helped lead to a five-yard DJ Moore TD. After this drive, Darnold and the Panthers would go three and out, three straight drives to finish up the first half.
Coming into the second half, the Panthers were down 21-7 and needed to figure it out. Darnold came out strong by hitting Hubbard underneath, which ended up going for 45 yards. Then after two sacks for -18 yards, the Panthers were set to punt the ball and got helped by an unsportsmanlike conduct call. Extending the drive, Darnold would then hit Tommy Tremble for 17 yards. This drive would end in a field goal, 21-10. On the next drive, Darnold completed two of three passes for 37 yards but was helped by two penalties (offsides and pass interference). This once again led to another field goal for the Panthers. Then finally, on the final drive for the Panthers, Darnold hit Moore for a 26-yard pass to set up a field goal and onside kick attempt.
Overall, Darnold continues his streak of games without an interception. He, at times, looks competent but was helped out majorly by penalties in this game. The Panthers are still in the playoff hunt and will need Darnold to put together better games when their rushing attack in nonexistent, like today.
Filthy touchdown from Sam Darnold to DJ Moore.
Darnold fires it through a keyhole and Moore catches it in a phone booth. Ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/Uy4CgDdItM
— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) December 18, 2022
Chuba Hubbard: 4 Carries, 10 Yards | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 57 Yards
D’Onta Foreman: 10 Carries, 9 Yards
Donta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard combined for 19 rushing yards on 14 carries. Hubbard was utilized in the receiving game very well, with his biggest catch and run going for 45 yards. On the day, he would finish up with 57 receiving yards. Overall the Steelers kept this Carolina Panthers offense in check and one-dimensional. The running backs were shut down, and the Panthers seemed just to be okay with that, as this game was never more than two score differential. So the Panthers could’ve gone back to the run game but decided to pass the ball. I can’t imagine that the Panthers will want to deviate from the run game in the future, as they are still running for a playoff spot and the NFC South division title.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
DJ Moore: 6 Targets, 5 Receptions, 73 Yards, TD
Terrace Marshall Jr.: 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 51 Yards
Shi Smith: 3 Targets, 1 Reception, 24 Yards
Tommy Tremble: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 20 Yards
Laviska Shenault Jr.: 1 Target
DJ Moore was a reliable receiver in this game and was targeted early and often. He got involved on the team’s first scoring drive catching all three of his targets for 34 yards and a touchdown. Later on in the game, the Panthers would be in a position to get back in the game, and Moore caught a 26-yard pass to help set up a field goal and a last-ditch effort to get back into this game. Moore also had some low points, getting called for a false start on third and third, which led to a punt. Moore also dropped a deep pass that would’ve set the team up in scoring position early on in the game. Overall, Moore has looked good with Darnold, and the Panthers still have a chance at a playoff game so look at Moore as a solid playoff wide receiver for fantasy.
Terrace Marshall had a good day catching all three targets for 51 yards. This included a big 40-yard bomb that set up a Moore TD. I think his best play of the game outside of the catch was drawing a 27-yard pass interference call that helped set up a field goal for the Panthers. Marshall has had spurt games, but I wouldn’t consider him someone to even flex in the fantasy playoffs.
Shi Smith caught his lone pass on the second-to-last drive with a big 24-yard catch. Tommy Tremble caught two passes for 20 yards, with one of those passes getting stretched for 17.
Great catch by DJ Moore pic.twitter.com/NKkEQrOuPG
— Bussin' With The Boys 🐺 (@BussinWTB) December 18, 2022