Pittsburgh quarterback Byron Leftwich, scheduled to start the regular season for the Steelers while Ben Roethlisberger serves a suspension, left the game early in the second quarter with an injury to his left knee.
He was taken to a hospital for tests. If Leftwich cannot play in the regular-season opener against Atlanta, Dixon would be the likely replacement.
Dixon's pass to Sanders gave Pittsburgh a 10-3 lead with 9:09 to play in the second quarter. It was the only pass Dixon threw in the game.
The rest of the scoring for both teams came on field goals -- four of them coming from Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed.
Roethlisberger, who was allowed to play in pre-season games, started the contest and went 4-of-6 for 39 yards.
Carolina (1-3) managed just 123 yards of offense. The Panthers begin their regular season at the New York Giants.
Duggar sisters unveil Christian dating rules in new book
Ohio bar shooting arrested, charged with murder