for this game

Steelers rout Panthers for fifth win in six games

Dec 17, 2006 - 11:29 PM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Willie Parker and rookie Santonio Holmes showed the Pittsburgh Steelers still have the heart of a champion.

Parker rushed for 132 yards on 23 carries and Holmes scored on a 65-yard punt return as the Steelers kept alive their slim playoff hopes with a 37-3 triumph over the fading Carolina Panthers in an interconference contest.

After dropping six of their first eight contests, the defending Super Bowl champs (7-7) have won five of their last six and face AFC North Division rivals Baltimore and Cincinnati in the final two weeks of the campaign.

"To be able to play like this on the road, against this team, with playoff implications, and to win when we're out there, no question (this is big)," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. "We've been there before. This football team knows that mindset that you have to have to win.

"You look back when the season is over. Right now, the only thing you control is what is ahead of us. I don't think we were mathematically eliminated today."

Coming off a franchise-record 223-yard outing against Cleveland, Parker topped the century mark for the sixth time this season and set a career-best with 1,331 yards this season.

"They have a tough defense, but our offensive line and the tight ends just stuck in there and kept pounding," Parker said. "It's not about me. It's about this team. (Gaining) 1,600 yards would be great, but I'm not going to take all the credit for my success."

Parker's best moment of the day came late in the third quarter when he raced around the left end and scored from 41 yards out to give Pittsburgh a 27-3 advantage. It was his 11th rushing touchdown of the season and 14th overall - two shy of the team's single-season mark.

Holmes, who had a second-quarter touchdown reception disallowed on a coach's challenge, ran Jason Baker's punt to the end zone early in the fourth quarter, widening the margin to 34-3.

"It was very exciting," Holmes said. "The only thing running through my mind was don't let that kicker catch me. ... It was exciting how these guys blocked for me. We're gonna get out and do our job. Overall, it was a great day. These guys know I can make plays."

Ben Roethlisberger raised his career record as a December starter to 10-1, which matches his record against NFC opponents. He completed 11-of-18 passes for 140 yards and was sacked three times before being replaced in the final period by Charlie Batch.

Roethlisberger scored on a one-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter and found fullback Najeh Davenport for a 13-yard score later in the period to widen the lead to 17-0.

"We did good in our total offense in this game today," Roethlisberger said. "I don't think we had a lot of yards, but offensively, we put up a lot of points. I think that it was a great all-around team effort and it was big."

Chris Weinke made his second straight start for Carolina (6-8) in place of Jake Delhomme, who remains sidelined with ligament damage in his right thumb.

After throwing for a franchise-best 423 yards against the New York Giants last Sunday, Weinke was limited to 170 on 18-of-28 passes and was sacked five times. He suffered his 17th loss in 18 career starts.

"We didn't make enough plays," Weinke said. "That is what it comes down to. They came after us pretty good. That had a good defense and that was evident today. ... We couldn't ever get into the groove. We couldn't ever run the ball and then play action. It seemed like there was something that went wrong."

"We are just not putting it together as an offensive unit," Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said. "We're not scoring points and we're not moving the ball effectively. As a whole, we are just not being effective. We are not very good right now. I don't think there are any words to describe it."

The Panthers have lost their last four games and moved closer to elimination from the playoff race following their appearance in last season's NFC championship game.

Carolina finishes with road contests at Atlanta and New Orleans.

"We're just not a very good football team right now," Carolina coach John Fox said. "I think that showed today. I don't think it's a matter of guys giving up. I just think that we're not very good right now."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 17 10 10 37
    CAROLINA 0 3 0 0 3 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: PIT - TD, BEN ROETHLISBERGER 1 YD RUN (JEFF
    REED KICK), 0:05. Drive: 9 plays,
    63 yards in 3:13. Key plays:
    Roethlisberger 9-yard pass to Ward
    on 3rd-and-4 to Carolina 48;


    Dec 17 4:04 PM


  • NFL
    FG PIT
    JEFF REED 36 YD
    PITTSBURGH 37
    CAROLINA 3 4:01 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 3:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    SANTONIO HOLMES 65 YD PUNT RETURN
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 34
    CAROLINA 3 14:27 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 3:27 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 17 10 27
    CAROLINA 0 3 0 3 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: PIT - TD, BEN ROETHLISBERGER 1 YD RUN (JEFF
    REED KICK), 0:05. Drive: 9 plays,
    63 yards in 3:13. Key plays:
    Roethlisberger 9-yard pass to Ward
    on 3rd-and-4 to Carolin

    Dec 17 3:22 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    WILLIE PARKER 41 YD RUN
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 27
    CAROLINA 3 0:13 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 3:18 PM


  • NFL
    FG PIT
    JEFF REED 45 YD
    PITTSBURGH 20
    CAROLINA 3 4:40 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 3:04 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 17 17
    CAROLINA 0 3 3 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: PIT - TD, BEN ROETHLISBERGER 1 YD RUN (JEFF
    REED KICK), 0:05. Drive: 9 plays,
    63 yards in 3:13. Key plays:
    Roethlisberger 9-yard pass to Ward
    on 3rd-and-4 to Carolina 48

    Dec 17 2:31 PM


  • NFL
    FG CAR
    JOHN KASAY 37 YD
    PITTSBURGH 17
    CAROLINA 3 0:04 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 2:28 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    NAJEH DAVENPORT 13 YD PASS FROM BEN ROETHLISBERGER
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 17
    CAROLINA 0 1:54 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 2:21 PM


  • NFL
    FG PIT
    JEFF REED 19 YD
    PITTSBURGH 10
    CAROLINA 0 4:25 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 2:09 PM


  • NFL
    TD PIT
    BEN ROETHLISBERGER 1 YD RUN
    (JEFF REED KICK)
    PITTSBURGH 7
    CAROLINA 0 14:55 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Steelers vs. PanthersDec 17 1:42 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    CAROLINA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE

    Dec 17 1:38 PM