View game action photos from Carolina's 23-6 preseason win over Pittsburgh.
FUNCHESS GOT MUCH-NEEDED REPS: After sitting out the previous two games with a sore hamstring, rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess suited up for the preseason finale against the Steelers and got some more valuable game experience.
"It felt great," Funchess said. "I was trying to get back on the field. They gave me the go-ahead, and I just went out there and played ball like I know how to play it."
Funchess finished with two catches for 22 yards and a boost of confidence heading into the regular season.
"This is the game I love, so when it gets taken away from you, you're mad about it," Funchess said. "I got some plays under me and was able to catch two balls today.
"It was (important) for me to go out there and play today. I think I did well, and I'm looking forward to Jacksonville."
PLENTY OF DEPTH AT RUNNING BACK: The Panthers have some tough decisions to make, particularly when it comes to the running backs. Lead back Jonathan Stewart sat out in Pittsburgh, but the backs behind him carried the load with great success.
Jordan Todman paced the group with 72 yards on just five carries, one of which went for a 49-yard score. Cameron Artis-Payne finished with 12 carries for 67 yards, and fellow rookie Brandon Wegher ran 17 times for 64 yards.
Head coach Ron Rivera has to feel pretty good about the depth in the backfield.
"Yes we do," Rivera said. "They all played really well."
CORNERS GETTING THIN: Josh Norman left the game with a head injury after two plays, and Teddy Williams was ruled out later with a groin injury.
After the game, Rivera did not have an update on Norman, Carolina's top cornerback.
In addition, fellow starter Charles Tillman sat out the game because he is in the concussion protocol. The health of the cornerbacks could be a cause for concern as Week 1 looms.
D-LINE WORKING ITS WAY BACK: There was hope defensive end Charles Johnson would get at least a couple snaps Thursday night against the Steelers, but a sore trapezius forced the veteran to stay home.
Defensive tackle Kawann Short did play, however. Short missed time with a back injury but started Thursday's game.
"I like that KK got an opportunity to play," Rivera said.
Short wasted no time making an impact, sacking quarterback Michael Vick on the fourth play of the game.
"The plan was to go out there and get a good pop in," Short said.
The Panthers wish Johnson and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who missed the entire preseason with a foot injury, could have done the same, but those two key starters will have to make due without any preseason preparation.
It's not ideal, but Short has confidence in the defensive line's ability to get the job done in Week 1.
"We are a little banged up, but I have 100 percent confidence in the guys that are backing up the starters," Short said. "I feel comfortable going into Week 1 with these guys."
O-LINE MAKING IT WORK: With All-Pro center Ryan Kalil nursing a knee injury and backup Brian Folkerts out with an ankle injury, right tackle Mike Remmers shifted to center Thursday. Rookie Daryl Williams started the game at right tackle in his place and played extensively.
"It went really well," Remmers said. "I only got a few snaps out there, but I felt good making the calls. It's different, but it was fun switching it up."
When Remmers' night ended, guard Chris Scott took over at center, and the line didn't miss a beat. All told, Carolina finished with 226 rushing yards and the Steelers didn't record a sack.
"We have a great group of guys," Remmers said. "Everyone executed the game plan really well."
View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's preseason win over Pittsburgh.