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SportsFootball

Steelers top Panthers on Sunday Night Football

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger gestures after throwing

The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger gestures after throwing a touchdown pass against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of a game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. Credit: AP / Bob Leverone

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Once the Pittsburgh Steelers found the end zone, they didn't seem to want to leave.

Ben Roethlisberger threw two 7-yard touchdown passes to Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell ran for 147 yards and theSteelers beat the Carolina Panthers 37-19 on Sunday night.

The Steelers had gone eight quarters without a touchdown before Roethlisberger's two scoring strikes in the third. They were set up by Cam Newton's fumble and Bell's 81-yard run.

Roethlisberger finished 22 of 30 for 196 yards, and Brown had 90 yards receiving on 10 catches to help theSteelers (2-1) snap Carolina's eight-game home winning streak.

LaGarrette Blount ran for 118 yards and the Steelers outrushed the Panthers 264-42.

The Panthers were looking for their first 3-0 start since 2003 — the year they went to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers lost defensive starters Ike Taylor, Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones to injuries.

Newton finished 24 of 35 for 250 yards, but was a non-factor running the ball with 7 yards on two carries. He faced heavy pressure from the Steelers most of the night, sometimes even from a three-man rush.

Newton is recovering from fractured ribs and still wearing a thick flak jacket. He took a forearm to the midsection from Shazier while running out of bounds and then was driven into the ground by Cameron Haywood when he came free on a stunt on back-to-back plays near the end of the first half.

Later, Newton took a shot to the knees from Jason Worlids and came up limping.

The Steelers led 9-3 at halftime behind Shaun Suisham's field goals of 42, 24, and 45 yards.

Pittsburgh hadn't scored a touchdown since the second quarter of their season opener before Roethlisberger connected with Brown in the back corner of the end zone following a colossal error by the Panthers. The score came after Carolina's Wes Horton was called for encroachment on a fourth-and-4 field-goal attempt, giving theSteelers a first down.

Brown scored on the next play.

After Bell broke free up the middle for an 81-yard burst on Pittsburgh's next drive, Brown struck again getting free while running across the field at the goal line for another 7-yard score that put Pittsburgh up 23-6.

Newton answered with a 37-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen, but the Steelers onslaught continued.

Pittsburgh's Shamarko Thomas stripped Philly Brown on a punt return in the fourth quarter and Robert Golden came up with the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

Blount put the game away with an 8-yard touchdown run, running through Thomas McCoud at the 4 and dragging him into the end zone in a moment that captured the Steelers' dominance.

The Panthers, playing without starting running back DeAngelo Williams, managed only 10 yards rushing in the opening half against a defense that had allowed 170 yards rushing per game coming in.

Williams' replacement, Jonathan Stewart, finished with 31 yards on five carries before leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury.

Newton looked sharp on the opening drive completing his first four passes for 52 yards but the Steelers began handing out punishing body blows to the fourth-year quarterback in the second quarter.

Derek Anderson began to warm up at one point, but Newton remained in the game until being replaced late in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers failed to find the end zone in the first half in what has become a recurring problem. Pittsburgh extended its streak of quarters without a touchdown to eight — or two full games. They appeared ready to break the streak in the second quarter but officials ruled Markus Wheaton stepped out of bounds before catching a pass in the end zone.

Carolina was without Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy, who was removed from the active roster earlier this week after being placed on the exempt-commissioner's permission list.

Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim said the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.

NOTES: Newton's fumble was Carolina's first turnover of the season. ... Shazier left in the second quarter with a foot injury and did not return. ... Panthers WR Jerricho Cotchery, who had 10 touchdowns catches for the Steelerslast season, was declared inactive before the game because of a hamstring injury. ... Cody Wallace started at left guard for the Steelers in place of Ramon Foster.

New York Sports