Over at Behind the Steel Curtain, I’ve done a weekly comparison of the 2010, 2008, and 1976 defenses. While the ‘10 unit can’t match the statistical dominance of the ‘76 defense, it’s still been very, very good all year. So it’s not a huge surprise that Dick LeBeau’s group stymied the hapless Panthers offense orchestrated by the over-matched rookie, Jimmy Claussen. Somewhat interestingly, the Panthers got off to a decent start in the first quarter. Their first two drives consumed a combined 69 yards, and both entered Steelers territory. However, neither possession resulted in points.
Then the defense of the Steelers really dug in. The Panthers had zero net yards and no first downs from the end of the first quarter until the final 90 seconds in the third. Outstanding. If not for a fourth quarter fumble that the Panthers converted into three points, the Steelers would likely have posted their first shutout of the season.