Panthers vs. Steelers: Halftime Notes

The Carolina Panthers jumped out to an early 17-0 halftime lead thanks to the team's running game and a late touchdown pass by Joe Webb. Publisher Brandon Croce's notes some of his takeaways from the first half of the final preseason game.

  • One of the major goals for every NFL team in the final preseason game is to finish the game without any injuries. The Carolina Panthers saw their top cornerback Josh Norman go back to the locker room after the first series with a head injury, according to sideline reporter Jordan Gorss. It will be worth watching getting close to the regular season if this injury lingers.
  • The Panthers have shown a steady pass rush early in the game with a sack on each of the Steelers’ first two offensive drives. On the opening drive, Kawann Short collapsed the pocket up the middle and brought down Michael Vick. The second Steelers’ drive was ended thanks to an impressive bull rush by Mario Addison where he drove the left tackle right into Vick and grabbed the sack.
  • The defensive line wasn’t done there as defensive end Rakim Cox added two sacks in the second quarter. The first sack looked almost identical to Addison’s sack where he beat the Steelers’ left tackle with an impressive bull rush. The former Villanova Wildcat has had an impressive preseason and is still playing for a spot on the Panthers final roster.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, Cameron Artis-Payne got the start at running back for the Panthers and played incredibly well. He carried the ball 12 times for 67 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. The one thing that stood out was that on almost every carry he was picking up positive yards. On a couple of carries, he had defenders in his face in the backfield but he was able to avoid them and get forward.
  • He didn’t have the most impressive play from the running back position. That honor belongs to Jordan Todman who took a handoff 49 yards for a touchdown off a draw play. The free agent signing has been impressive and taken advantage of all his touches when he has been in the game. He certainly has earned a few looks during the regular season as a change of pace back for this Panthers offense.
  • The passing game was rather quiet in the first half but that was due to the fact the run game was working so well. The biggest notes from the first half was that Corey Brown caught the only pass thrown his way, which is huge news after a horrible performance against the New England Patriots. Devin Funchess also had two receptions in the first half which is good to see as he has been dealing with a hamstring injury this preseason.
  • If Panthers need one reason to watch the second half of the final preseason game it is to see how newly acquired wide receiver Kevin Norwood looks. He didn’t get a chance to enter the game until the final drive in the first half but didn’t get any passes thrown his way. I would have to believe that he plays most of the final two quarters.

Follow me on Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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