Turning Points: Steelers answer in 11 seconds, never look back

Could’ve. Would’ve. Should’ve. These words define those who fall short of their goals. Such is the case of this series, which will examine the ebbs and flows of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season and how specific individual plays may have shaped the year.

Skeptics were still in full force when the 6-2 Carolina Panthers traveled to Heinz Field for a clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football. Through nine weeks, the Steelers sat at 5-2-1 following wins against teams that appeared to be on the downswing during the season, including four total encounters against AFC North opponents.

Now a real opponent was coming to Pittsburgh. The Panthers had been hot, owning a better record than the Steelers. This game, the critics opined, would be a true test for the Steelers.

An opening series which chewed four and a half minutes of game clock saw the Panthers run nine plays in route to scoring the game’s first seven points off of a Cam Newton to Christian McCaffrey 20-yard touchdown pass where the latter was uncovered and untouched.

It was early, but it appeared as though the Steelers would be embarrassed.

Then the Steelers offense took the field for their first possession and all they needed was a single play to even things up.

Pump fake. Boom.

Ben Roethlisberger shook the Panthers secondary as JuJu Smith-Schuster blew by his coverage and connected for a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown play.

Color Rush jerseys and all, the Steelers would rock Heinz Field with this play and never look back the entire game, winning with a final score of 52-21.

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