CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers closed out the 2018 season Thursday in Pittsburgh.
This was the opportunity for guys on the bubble, like former Charlotte Catholic star Elijah Hood, to make a statement.
His start to the game was not what he had in mind.
Hood was injured on the opening kickoff going down on the ground in pain in an unfortunate set of circumstances.
He had to be helped off the field and then carted back to the locker room. He did not return.
The Panthers second team defense was not impressive at all on the Steelers first two drives giving up back-to-back touchdowns falling behind 14-0 making Pittsburgh back-up QB Josh Dobbs look like an All-Pro.
The Panthers came back led by QB starter Taylor Heinicke in that backup battle with Garrett Gilbert.
Heinicke threw the perfect back shoulder pass to Mose Frazier for a second quarter TD.
The Panthers were down 14-7 at the time.
It looks like Heinicke will have the edge on the back-up spot.
The Panthers defense struggled in the first half with the Steelers leading 25-7 at halftime.
Pittsburgh won it 39-24.
Panthers finished the preseason 3-1. They host Dallas Sept. 9 to start the regular season.