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Sep 21, 2014 9:27 PM

Panthers, Steelers tied at 3-3 after 1st quarter

The Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Pittsburgh's Shaun Suisham and Carolina's Graham Gano swapped field goals to leave the Steelers and Panthers tied 3-3 after the opening quarter Sunday night.

Gano's 40-yarder came on the Panthers' first drive of the night midway through the period, while Suisham's 42-yard kick with 7 seconds left in the quarter tied it and capped a drive that stalled at the 24.

The teams were relatively even in the opening period, each managing one solid drive that pushed near the 20 before settling for field goals.

They were relatively even statistically after the opening period, with Pittsburgh relying largely on running back Le'Veon Bell for the bulk of its offense. Bell got off to a strong start with 41 yards on seven carries while Ben Roethlisberger found himself under pressure several times and completed just 4 of 8 passes for 16 yards while taking one sack in the period.

For Carolina, Cam Newton threw for 60 yards on 6-for-8 passing in the opening quarter, including an 18-yard completion to rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin on his first throw.

The Panthers entered the game aiming for their first 3-0 start since 2003, the season they made it to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers were coming off a 26-6 loss at Baltimore, where they managed just two field goals and lost three turnovers. It was the first time in nearly eight years that the Steelers had failed to score a touchdown against their AFC North division rival.

The Panthers were down two offensive starters. Running back DeAngelo Williams and receiver Jerricho Cotchery were both inactive due to hamstring injuries.

Jonathan Stewart made his second straight start for Williams, while undrafted rookie Philly Brown started for Cotchery and had his first two two NFL catches on Carolina's first drive.

Carolina was without its 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.


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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