The Seattle Seahawks were able to overcome another dreadful performance by their offense to take the win over the Carolina Panthers this afternoon, primarily because of their own defense’s ability to shut down Cam Newton and the Panthers playmakers.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense started off extremely hot, with both Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle receiving corps capitalizing on holes in the Panther defense and gaining a ton of yards after short receptions from Wilson. Even with that success, the Seahawks were unable to find the endzone for most of the game, mainly as a result of untimely turnovers by the quarterback and on special teams. Russell Wilson threw a horribly late pass to start the third quarter, which got picked off by Captain Munnerlyn and returned for a 33 yard touchdown, putting the Seahawks in a 10-6 hole. He followed that up with another interception, this time the fault of the receiver, to the Panthers first rounder, Luke Kuechly. Leon Washington joined the turnover party, fumbling a kickoff return, which, luckily, did not lead to points for the Carolina Panther. In the end Russell Wilson played good enough to keep them in the game, with the defense making up for the three not-so-costly turnovers. Marshawn Lynch put in another impressive performance, tallying 85 yards on 21 carries , which helped the Seahawks in converting 50% of their third down tries, a big improvement over the previous week.
For the Carolina Panthers, much of the game was watching Cam Newton fixate on his star wide receiver, Steve Smith, targeting him 7 times in the first 10 passes of the game, which included 3 drops by the one-time Pro Bowl receiver. Newton ended the night going 12 for 29 passing, for a total of 141 yards. However, he was sacked four times by the dominate Seahawks front four, netting 33 yards lost on quarterback take downs. The Panthers were equally placid on the ground, rushing for only 82 yards on 19 carries, most coming from Cam Newton himself. The Panthers were 2 of 11 on third down, and ended up losing the game on a odd throw by Cam Newton on fourth down, which appeared to slip out of his hands on the way to his wide open tight end in the back of the endzone. The Panthers had every opportunity to win this game against an equally poor Seattle offense, but failed to make the big plays when they need them, sending the team to 1-4 on the season.
Next the Panthers take on the disgruntled Dallas Cowboys, coming off an bye week follow the offensive meltdown on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears. If tonight wasn’t a pivotal game for the progression of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panther, then next week certainly will be, as a loss will have them sitting at 1-5, battling the New Orleans Saints for the bottom spot in a pathetic NFC South.
The Seahawks end their road campaign next week, taking on the New England Patriots in Seattle. The Patriots have found their rhythm on offense, but have yet to play against a truly dominating defense, aside from their loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks will need the home win, as they are on the road for the next two weeks against the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. The ‘Hawks currently sit at the bottom of the NFC West, tied with the St. Louis Rams at 3-2, although losing the head-to-head matchup between the two teams just a week ago.