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Report Card: Grading the Steelers preseason finale loss to the Carolina Panthers

The preseason is over, the game grades are ready, let’s get ready for Week 1!

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

We have made it to the end of the preseason, and the Steelers were the losers in their clash with the Carolina Panthers pushing their preseason record to 3-1 matching their 2019 preseason record in which they also dropped the finale to Carolina. It was a messy game that saw the Steelers struggle from whistle to whistle. If there was any silver lining to this game it was that Carolina mostly played their starters and top backups while the Steelers only played the bottom guys on the roster. It was good to get a game like this out of their system, and to begin prep for the regular season.


This was by far the worst unit of the game. Everyone struggled, and the Steelers had a hard time picking up first downs let alone stringing together a scoring drive. Haskins played his worst game in the black and gold and Josh Dobbs wasn't much better. Haskins looked worried and hesitant in the pocket, refusing to throw to players unless they were wide open by seemingly 5+ yards. The Line struggled and the running game was totally non-existent.

Turnovers were also an issue as the Steelers fumbled numerous times and lobbed up an interception. You will have a brutal time winning games if your turnover differential is in the other teams favor let alone by -3. This was a rough night for the offense and a night we hopefully soon forget.

Overall Grade: F


The defense wasn't much better than the offense. There weren't many big plays, turnovers were non existent, and the Panthers were able to drive at will. It was the perfect storm for a blowout and that's exactly what happened. Again, it was good that next to none of the Steelers starts appeared in this game, and it was evident that backups were taking on starters in Carolinas favor.

Looking for positives Jamir Jones, Tre Norwood, Mark Gilbert, Chris Wormley, and Isaiahh Loudermilk all looked pretty good but it wasn't nearly enough to slow the Panthers. Honestly the regular season, and the starters, can't get here soon enough.

Overall Grade: D-

Special Teams

Aside from a bad mistake from Matthew Sexton this unit wasn't bad in Charlotte. Chris Boswell knocked through his lone field goal, but then missed an extra point, the punters were blasting them all over the field, and Buddy Johnson delivered a bone-crushing hit. There were some positives, but it doesn't matter much when your team is counting and the other team is scoring.

Prediction from what we saw in the game is that Pressley Harvin and Christian Kuntz will make the team, Jordan Berry will be dealt for a late round pick, and Kam Canaday will be released for added cap space and for a better tackler.

Overall Grade: B-


This was bad, like bad BAD. An effort like that in the regular season, and Steelers’ Nation would be running around calling for everyone’s jobs. Offense and defense were as bad as bad can be and the Steelers barn doors were blown off because of it. Hopefully the coaching staff can turn this crushing defeat into a learning lesson for the starters. On the same coin, watching a number of guys struggled certainly made cut down day easier for the coaches, nobody stepped up.

I will continue say going undefeated in the regular season is bad juju and the Steelers can use this loss in preparation for Buffalo. It may be a good thing they got this out of their system now.

Overall Grade: F+

But what do you think? Do you agree with the grades? What are your thoughts on the preseason as a whole? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.