Rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs scored on a one-yard touchdown run with two seconds remaining, as the Steelers eked out a 17-14 victory at Carolina in the preseason finale Thursday night.
Second-string quarterback Landry Jones started against the Panthers, playing the first two series and completing four of six passes for 28 yards and an interception before giving way to Dobbs late in the first quarter.
The Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead thanks to a four-yard plunge by running back Fozzy Whittaker and led 7-3 early in the second period, when Dobbs hit Justin Hunter on a 58-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to give Pittsburgh a 10-7 lead.
The Panthers re-gained the lead late in the first half thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Joe Webb to Damiere Byrd to make it 14-10 as the two teams headed to the locker room.
Early in the second quarter, the Steelers had a royal opportunity to take the lead, thanks to an interception by safety Malik Golden, who returned the pick seven yards to the Panthers 14-yard line. Unfortunately for Golden, he pulled up lame as soon as he came down with the football and, just days before the final cut-down from 90 to 53 players, was forced to miss the rest of the night with a groin injury.
The Steelers failed to capitalize on the takeaway and actually came away with zero points, after running back Terrell Watson gained nine yards on four-straight carries.
Late in the third quarter, backup inside linebacker L.T. Fort recovered a fumble at the Panthers 48-yard line, but, again, the Steelers were unable to come away with points, and the score remained 14-10 heading into the final period.
The final nail in Pittsburgh’s coffin appeared to come at the 1:29 mark of the fourth quarter, after Dobbs hit reserve receiver Cobi Hamilton with a short pass; after Hamilton gained 31 yards down to the 20, he fumbled while being tackled, and the Panthers recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
However, the Steelers used all three of their timeouts while stopping the Panthers on three plays and forced a punt that ultimately set the stage for Dobbs’ heroics at the end.
- For the night, Dobbs completed 16 of 23 passes for 212 yards and the score to Hunter.
It’s now on to the regular season, as the Steelers travel to Cleveland for a Week 1 battle against the Browns on September 10.