Steelers, Still Missing LeVeon Bell, Crush the Panthers

Steelers, Still Missing Le\Veon Bell, Crush the Panthers
Steelers vs. Panthers final score, takeaways: Steelers demolish Panthers on Big Bens perfect night
Per our power rankings, the Steelers come in sixth, while the Panthers rank ninth. And the two teams hold four- and three-game winning streaks, respectively.

So, who will come out on top and maintain their path to a division title? Lets dig in and find out.

Conner was briefly examined in the sideline medical tent during the third quarter after taking a hit on a play. He later returned to the game before leaving for the locker room with the Steelers leading, 52-14, early in the fourth quarter.

Ben Roethlisberger has Pittsburgh Steelers playing like team possessed – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog- ESPN

This matchup will have some juice, and thats thanks to two veteran signal-callers at quarterback that have been fantastic at the position in 2018.

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In reviewing the 33 quarterbacks with 150 or more drop backs this year, Cam Newton has been ballin. Peeking at Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, Newton checks in seventh with a mark of 0.22, and Ben Roethlisberger isnt too far behind him, ranking ninth (0.21). In terms of Passing Success Rate, or the percentage of drop backs resulting in positive NEP, Newton ranks 10th (51.275) and Roethlisberger slides back a bit to 15th (49.01%).

The second-year running back tallied 65 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries before exiting the game. Conner has 771 rushing yards and 10 TDs on the season.

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Both signal-callers seem very unsure about pushing the ball downfield. In terms of Average Intended Air Yards (IAY), which measures the average Air Yards a passer throws on all attempts, despite many passing weapons, Roethlisberger has posted a mediocre mark of 7.8 IAY, while Newton has been a bit farther back at 7.4 IAY. Using Week 9 as an example, where passers like Baker Mayfield (11) and Aaron Rodgers (10) led the pack in deep passes — pass attempts traveling 16+ yards, Newton (6) and Roethlisberger (5) were a little more conservative.

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Panthers safety Eric Reid ejected, as things get worse for Panthers

Measuring Newton as a passer only would be a disservice, and the quarterback has certainly used his legs to his advantage. Cam is lapping the field in rushing attempts, easily leading the same group with 62 carries, 342 rushing yards, and 4 rushing touchdowns.

With his team down 52-21 and under six minutes remaining, Love was shown sitting on the Panthers bench with his chin resting against his chest and looking asleep.

James Conner in concussion protocol

Despite that lack of a deep ball, both quarterbacks are performing well from a fantasy perspective, as seen from their point-per-game and FanDuel-point-per game marks.

Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Kyle Love looked as alert as his defense late in his teams blowout loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

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In terms of situation-neutral pace, the Steelers are one of the quickest teams in the league, ranking 9th (30.03 seconds), while Carolina plods along a lot more, clocking in 25th (32.16 seconds).

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As weird and difficult as things have and continue to be in Pittsburgh at the running back position, it went to a whole new level yesterday:

Trolling upside tweets or not, holding out this season in hopes of a large offseason contract, LeVeon Bell has given way to James Conner, who has been fantastic for the Steelers. Among the 34 running backs with 75 or more carries this year, Conner ranks 11th in Rushing NEP per carry (0.04). In terms of Rushing Success Rate, Conner has been strong as well, clocking in 10th (43.71%). Conner leads the AFC in rushing yards (706), and he ranks fourth in receptions among running backs (38).

Christian McCaffrey has also been a beast this season, ranking 3rd in running back receptions (49), 19th in Rushing Success Rate (40.37%), and 16th in Rushing NEP per rush (0.00).

According to WPXI, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown  was stopped by police for speeding, and was cited for reckless driving and going in excess of 100 mph.

From a yards from scrimmage perspective, Conner ranks second (1,085), while McCaffrey ranks seventh (880), which also shows up in their individual fantasy rankings:

According to Ross Township police, officers were out looking for a suspect in a bank robbery when a black Porsche speeding by attracted their attention.

It looks like both teams have strong running games, but can these defenses step up to the task and hold down these runners?

I learned this from an old wise man: Harmony is everything. Chemistry is everything, Newton said. This may not be the best or most talented team that Ive probably ever been on, but its getting up there with guys that are really meshing and linking up perfectly. No matter how much talent youve got, no matter how much potential, skillset, whatever synonym you want to place there in the blank, harmony is so important. And it shows not only through the good times, but the bad times as well, and thats what this team is kind of developing for ourselves is — listen, we may not necessarily be the best team in the league, but we damn sure are going to be the best team when we play. And thats all that matters.

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In looking at numberFires schedule-adjusted metrics, one of the strengths of the Steelers season has been their defense, which clocks in 10th, and the Panthers havent been quite so strong, ranking 16th.

Cams a little faster, but they both stand tall in the pocket, they both are elusive and they both look downfield, Rivera said in comparing the quarterbacks. Its funny because I know a lot of people think about Cam as a running quarterback. But if you really get a chance to ever break him down, youll see that he will hang in the pocket a lot longer, a lot like Ben does, trying to give (receivers) a chance to free up sometimes.

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From analyzing Pittsburghs perspective, theyve been really good against both the run and the pass, ranking 8th against the pass and 12th against the run. Carolina has been pretty good against the pass, too — they rank 13th there but have struggled defending the run, now sitting 22nd.

Even with their similarity in size, Roethlisberger and Newton are different on the football field. Both have earned a reputation as hard to bring down, but Roethlisberger isnt a runner. In his 15 NFL seasons, hes amassed 1,300 rushing yards. Newton is considered one of the top running quarterbacks in NFL history. He has 4,662 rushing yards and holds the league record for touchdowns scored by a quarterback with 58.

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Getting pressure on the opposing quarterback has a major strength for the Steelers, but a problem for the Panthers in 2018. In terms of Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate, which measures sacks plus intentional grounding penalties, Pittsburgh checks in seventh with a mark of 8.1%. Carolina, however, needs to step their game up, as they rank 20th with a mark of 7.1%.

Roethlisberger has thrown more than Newton this season. Roethlisberger has completed 222-of-344 passes for 2,560 yards with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Newton has completed 177-of-263 passes for 1,893 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. Newton has a higher passer rating (100.8 to 93.9), and hes run for 342 yards and four touchdowns, too, in 2018.

As you may expect with the color mentioned above, Pittsburgh has been solid getting the ball back to Roethlisberger and company, but Carolina hasnt been so strong. Pittsburgh ranks 10th in yards allowed per drive (30.42), while Carolina clocks in 19th (33.06). Carolina has shined in forcing turnovers, ranking tied for seventh (15), while Pittsburgh has forced only nine this year.

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Safety Eric Reid was just ejected after hitting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the head as he was sliding.

Reid was diving over the top and caught Roethlisberger in the head as he flew past, and it didn’t take a long huddle of officials to send Reid off.

That triggered a brief scrum, as Steelers guard David DeCastro came to his quarterback’s defense. Reid eventually went over and appeared to apologize to Roethlisberger.

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