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Steelers erupt in 2nd half, hand Panthers 1st loss

Sep 22, 2014 - 5:30 AM Charlotte, NC ( - Ben Roethlisberger threw two second-half touchdown passes to Antonio Brown as the Pittsburgh Steelers downed the Carolina Panthers 37-19 on Sunday night.

Le'Veon Bell had a career-high 147 yards on 21 carries and LeGarrette Blount ran 10 times for 118 yards and a touchdown, giving the Steelers (2-1) two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 1986.

Roethlisberger was 22-of-30 for 196 yards, while Brown finished with 90 yards on 10 receptions.

"We were presented with a challenge in a hostile environment, a very good football team," said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin. "We responded appropriately, made the necessary plays in all three phases."

Pittsburgh, however, did lose cornerback Ike Taylor to a broken right forearm.

Cam Newton completed 24-of-35 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown, but fumbled on Carolina's opening drive of the third quarter.

The Panthers (2-1) had won eight consecutive regular-season games at home.

"We didn't block very well up front and we didn't stop the run very well," said Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

Already thin at running back with DeAngelo Williams (thigh) inactive for the second straight week, Carolina's Jonathan Stewart suffered a right knee contusion. Fullback Mike Tolbert left the game with a leg injury, too.

The Steelers forced their first turnover of the season when Jarvis Jones caused the Newton fumble. Jason Worilds recovered at the Carolina 17-yard line, and Pittsburgh extended its lead to 16-3 when Roethlisberger found Brown in the back right corner of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

Carolina's next drive only resulted in a 40-yard Graham Gano field goal.

An offensive pass interference penalty pinned Pittsburgh deep in its own territory on the ensuing possession. Bell, however, ripped off an 81-yard run on 2nd-and-22 from the 8-yard line. The huge gain set up another 7-yard scoring strike from Roethlisberger to Brown.

Newton trimmed the deficit to 23-13 with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen early in the fourth quarter, but a special teams mistake enabled Pittsburgh to steal back the momentum.

After forcing a three-and-out, Philly Brown muffed the punt and then fumbled. The ball wound up going into the end zone, where Robert Golden pounced on it for a touchdown, extending the Steelers' lead to 30-13.

Blount had a 50-yard run on the next Pittsburgh drive, which began at the 2- yard line. He ended the series with an 8-yard TD run.

Carolina backup quarterback Derek Anderson replaced Newton, who was roughed up by the Steelers, and threw a late 35-yard TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin.

Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham connected on field goals from distances of 42, 24 and 45 yards in the first half. Gano opened the scoring with a 40-yard field goal.

Game Notes

Brown has at least five catches and 50 receiving yards in 19 consecutive games, tying Laveranues Coles for the longest such streak in NFL history ... The Panthers haven't opened 3-0 since 2003 ... Benjamin made eight grabs for 115 yards.