With most of its first string starters on bench, the Carolina Panthers successfully closed out their preseason slate at home on Thursday.
Quarterback Derek Anderson threw two touchdown passes, helping Carolina defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-10 at Bank of America Stadium.
Anderson tossed both of his touchdowns in the first half, including a 35-yard pass to Ted Ginn, Jr.
“I just tried to get in a good rhythm, get some momentum, get a lot of plays and I thought we did a good job,” Anderson said. “We got completions and we got big plays.”
Before the first half ended, Anderson would once again find Ginn, Jr. — this time on an 87-yard pass-and-catch.
“It was great just going out and finishing the preseason with a bang,” Ginn, Jr. said. “I’m happy that I was able to show my team what I have.”
Defense also shined for Carolina in Thursday’s preseason finale.
Third-year safety Colin Jones made two interceptions on Steelers rookie quarterback Landry Jones in the contest.
Panthers cornerback Josh Norman also recorded his fourth interception of the preseason in the third quarter.
As a team, Carolina made 10 defensive interceptions in the four-game preseason.
“I’m very pleased, not just with their hands, but with the whole attitude and mentality we’ve been working on since we got here,” Rivera said of his defense’s play. “From day one, Sean (McDermott) and the defensive staff have been preaching takeaways. I think the players have really begun to buy in and understand the importance and the significance.”
Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton also made his debut with the squad after being signed earlier this week.
“I thought it went well,” said Wharton of his first start. “There were butterflies just getting back on the field. I was anxious to get back on the field.”
The Panthers now turn their attention toward trimming their roster down to 53 players, which must be done by Saturday.
“I think (Thursday’s game) is going to help us in certain circumstances and going to hurt us in others,” Rivera said of the Panthers final cuts. “It’s going to make it tough on us. We had some guys that played really, really well and some guys that took advantage of those opportunities. We’ll have to talk about those.”