4 takeaways from Steelers embarrassing preseason loss vs Panthers

Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images) /
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Carolina Panthers running back Chuba Hubbard (30) runs for yardage chased by Pittsburgh Steelers. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Things did not go according to plan for the Steelers in their preseason finale. Here are four things we learned from their blowout loss against the Panthers. 

As good as the Pittsburgh Steelers looked against the Detroit Lions in their third exhibition game of 2021, they looked equally as bad in their preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers. There are reasons why this was the case.

Apart from a few players on their offensive line and Chase Claypool, almost no starters took the field for Pittsburgh in this contest (no doubt in an effort to avoid injuries prior to their season-opener against the Bills). Unfortunately, they were grossly outmatched by their opponent on Friday night.

While the team was able to escape the game mostly injury-free (Josh Dobbs left for the locker room in the second half), it was not quite the epic finish to the preseason fans were hoping for. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the Steelers blowout loss against the Panthers:

Robert Spillane has gone from bad to worse

I don’t mean to keep harping about the same player and the continuous struggles he has had this summer, but Robert Spillane has somehow gone from a reasonable stop-gap starter in 2020, to an almost unplayable linebacker in the NFL preseason.

Though he had a couple of nice plays against the run, Spillane was hard to watch in pass coverage and he was picked on all night – giving up multiple first downs to keep the chains moving for Carolina.

If the Steelers had not already been proactive and traded for Joe Schobert, I can almost assure you that a move would be coming after the debacle we witnessed on Friday night. Spillane played so badly that there could be a demotion in his future. In a much smaller role with fewer assignments, perhaps he could look more like the player we saw last year, but it wasn’t pretty for him in his preseason finale.