With a lot of starters not seeing action, it was Dwayne Haskins and the Pittsburgh offense taking the field for the opening kickoff. However, a three-and-out sent Jordan Berry on the field for the first punt of the game.
Sam Darnold took over for the Carolina Panthers, and put together an impressive, and time consuming drive. Starting at their own 20-yard line, the Panthers worked their way deep into Pittsburgh territory, but failed on 4th down and turned the ball over on downs with nothing to show for their 13 play, 7:01 drive.
The Steelers’ offense remained inept with Haskins at the helm, and resulted in another three-and-out on their second possession. Pressley Harvin delivered a 48-yard punt, putting the Carolina back in their own territory for their second drive of the first quarter.
Darnold and company didn’t take as much time to move the ball into scoring range on their second drive; however, much like the first drive the offense stalled. Instead of going for it on 4th and short, the Panthers elected to kick a field goal. The 52-yard kick by Ryan Santoso banked in, making the score 3-0.
Haskins’ next drive was less than stellar as a pass intended for Derek Watt tipped off his hands and was intercepted. The Panthers had the ball to end the first quarter.