Steelers, Panthers set record by scoring three touchdowns in 23 seconds

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers in the first quarter of Thursday night’s game did something no two teams had done in the Super Bowl era.

They combined for three touchdowns in 23 seconds, a record for the shortest span, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The previous record for three touchdowns was 26 seconds by the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders in 2008.

The Panthers used 4:31 on their opening possession, scoring on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to running back Christian McCaffrey at the 10:29 mark.

On Pittsburgh’s first play after a touchback on the kickoff, Ben Roethlisberger connected with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 75-yard touchdown that took 11 seconds.

And on Carolina’s next play from scrimmage, Newton was intercepted by linebacker Vince Williams, who returned the pick 17 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7 with 10:05 left in the first quarter.

Pittsburgh led 31-14 at halftime, tying for the most points the Panthers have given up in a half in team history.

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Watch how the Steelers scored two TDs in 13 seconds – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog

PITTSBURGH — Now that’s how you start a game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense needed one play to get into the end zone Thursday night, thanks to Ben Roethlisberger’s deep connection with JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 75-yard touchdown on the Carolina Panthers with 10:18 left in the first half.

Thirteen seconds later, the Steelers hit pay dirt again when Vince Williams caught a wobbly pass from Cam Newton, who was under pressure from T.J. Watt, and returned the interception 17 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.

The Steelers’ defense gave up a nine-play touchdown drive to open the game, but the offense responded when Smith-Schuster slipped past corner James Bradberry, and Roethlisberger found him in stride down the sideline. Bradberry bit on a short route, and Smith-Schuster did the rest.

This is the third time since 2001 that 21 points were scored in the first five minutes of a game. The other such games were Browns-Bengals in 2004 and Rams-Jaguars in 2005.

Big-play Smith-Schuster now has four receptions of at least 67 yards since he was drafted in 2017, and he entered the game as the team’s leader in receiving yards, with 672.

Smith-Schuster reached 20.07 mph on his touchdown, his second-fastest TD this season, and sixth-fastest on the team, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

After the play, Le’Veon Bell, who was watching at home, tweeted, “JuJu is so special man.”

The Steelers countered with an eight-play, 61-yard scoring drive capped by a 2-yard James Conner rushing touchdown to take a 21-7 lead.

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