Ben Roethlisberger threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Pittsburgh Steelers inched closer to a division title by routing the visiting Carolina Panthers 27-3 on Thursday night.
Roethlisberger threw for 320 yards on 22-of-32 passing and Mike Wallace had four receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers moved one-half game ahead of Baltimore atop the AFC North.
The Steelers (11-4) will win the division and secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye if the Ravens lose at Cleveland on Sunday. Even if Baltimore wins Sunday, Pittsburgh will win the AFC North and earn a bye if it wins at Cleveland in the regular-season finale.
Following a slow start, the Steelers put the game away with a 17-point second quarter to take a 20-0 halftime lead.
Roethlisberger connected with Mike Wallace on a 43-yard scoring strike early in the second quarter and Rashard Mendenhall plowed in from 1 yard out late in the half. Mendenhall ran for 65 yards on 18 carries.
The Panthers (2-13), who are the league's lowest-scoring team, averted a shutout on John Kasay's 27-yard field goal with 8:29 to play.
Rookie Jimmy Clausen finished 10 of 23 for 72 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times.
After moving the ball fairly decently on its first two possessions, Carolina's punchless offense ground to a halt in the middle two quarters.
The Panthers ran just 16 plays on six possessions, with one interception followed by five consecutive three-and-outs.