This one was yet another sweepstakes “giveaway” from the Carolina Panthers to the Seattle Seahawks as the Panthers turn a 7-3 halftime lead into a 12-7 loss.
This one is especially painful for a number of reasons, not the least of which was Carolina’s dominance for the first 50 minutes of the ball game.
With 10:30 left in the game and the Panthers having a 7-6 lead, DeAngelo Williams coughed up the ball after a 16-yard scamper as the Seahawks recovered and stymied a humdrum Panthers’ offense.
Going into the season, I knew the Panthers had turned their weakness – rush defense – into their team strength, pass rush aside. This was borne out by the statistics – Seattle was held to 2.7 yards per attempt on the ground while Carolina was at 5.0 for the game.
Carolina’s sole score came on a 3-yard TD pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith to culminate an 11 play 80-yard drive.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson used his mobility to escape a fierce Panthers pass rush much of the day and had 300 yards passing on efficient 25-for-33 passing. Cam had only 119 yards on 16/23 with 1 TD to Smitty and no picks.
Oddly enough, the Panthers couldn’t force a turnover while the Seahawks got two – DeAngelo’s fumble and a fumble on a kick return where the kick was short and Ted Ginn, jr. was screaming at his teammates to clear the way. They didn’t listen and the ball hit Josh Thomas in the calf, giving the Seahawks the ball well inside Carolina territory.
This loss is especially painful because of the Panthers’ schedule. It doesn’t get any easier since they play the other teams in the NFC West once each as well as their grueling divisional schedule.
The good thing, if there ever IS anything “good” coming from a defeat, is that the defense was very active all day and yes, only allowed 12 points. It bodes well for the team being able to stay in close games, but I knew the offense was going to be average at best going into this season. It’s too difficult to fix both sides of the ball in a single off-season when you’ve got severe salary cap issues.
Fixing the offense will have to wait until 2014, unfortunately.
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