Preseason finale brings flat-line performance in 18-6 loss to Panthers

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Daryl Richardson runs against the Panthers. - GETTY

CHARLOTTE, N.C.Mike Tomlin appeared less than pleased.

The primary objective of the Steelers' preseason finale Thursday night was evaluation rather than victory, hence his use of at most five potential starters. Still, he evidently would rather have not had his reserves so thoroughly walloped by the Panthers' reserves, 18-6, at Bank of America Stadium.

Defensively, the Steelers were stout in the red zone, but Carolina dug deep enough for Graham Gano to hit six field goals. And offensively, they finished with eight first downs to 21 for the Panthers, 122 total yards to 351 for the Panthers, 39 offensive plays to 74 for the Panthers, and a paltry 21:07 time of possession.