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Game at a glance: Seahawks 12, Panthers 7
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 12-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers in their season opener at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME: RUSSELL WILSON
The Seahawks’ second-year quarterback picked a most-opportune time to register his first 300-yard passing performance in a regular-season game.
If Wilson’s stat line – 25 of 33 for 320 yards with a touchdown pass and no interceptions for a 115.7 passer rating – didn’t tell the story of this game, then the timeliness of his completions did. Especially the 43-yard TD pass to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse with 10 minutes, 13 seconds to play.
But the fact that Wilson was so productive in a game where he took such a pounding said even more.
“But you give a lot of credit to Russell because he put us in those situations to make those plays. It’s phenomenal to have a quarterback of his caliber back there. He showed the poise back there, the resilience back there. At times when plays broke down he would create something for us. It was just amazing that we were able to do that today.”
This was far from the offense’s finest moment, but when his team needed him most Wilson was there.
He was 7 of 7 for 72 yards on the second-quarter drive to a 27-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka, including a 5-yarder to Baldwin on third-and-3; a 14-yarder to Sidney Rice on third-and-7; and a 25-yarder to Baldwin on third-and-3.
He was 3 of 4 – hey, nobody’s perfect – for 60 yards on the drive to the TD.
He was 4 of 4 for 54 yards on the drive the consumed the final 5½ minutes of the game, including an 18-yarder to Golden Tate; a 13-yarder to Baldwin; and 12- and 11-yarders to fullback Derrick Coleman.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winning play – Wilson’s 43-yard TD pass to Kearse. On the previous play, Stephen Williams got behind Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas to get his hands on a Wilson pass near the goal line, but couldn’t hold the ball as he tumbled to the ground. Kearse then turned an option route into a go-route because of the way Thomas was playing him, and this time the Seahawks got the score.
Defense: The game-saving play – as All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas knocked the ball from the grasp of Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel recovered the Seahawks’ 8-yard line. The fumble-forcing play came eight plays after the Seahawks had scored their TD.
“Earl got the ball out of there and I just dove on it,” McDaniel said. “I saw the whole thing because I was chasing the play.”
Special teams: Hauschka kicked two field goals and Chris Maragos recovered a fumble on a punt return, but let’s go with Jon Ryan’s 69-yard punt. It came at the end of the Seahawks’ first possession, and from the back edge of the end zone. Ryan kicking the Seahawks out of that hole helped them keep things scoreless in the first quarter.
INJURY UPDATE: JERON JOHNSON TWEAKS HAMSTRING
The backup safety left the game after tweaking his hamstring during the second quarter and did not return. Carroll said that was only injury of significance in the game.
|YOU DON'T SAY
“We take a lot of pride in getting this win today. … It’s a good quality win for us.”
– Pete Carroll
But the Seahawks played without right cornerback Brandon Browner, who injured his left hamstring in practice on Wednesday and was declared inactive for the game. Walter Thurmond started on the right side for Browner and Byron Maxwell also played there, mostly in the nickel defense when Thurmond slid inside to cover the slot receiver.
The last time the Seahawks won their opener on the road was in 2006, a 9-6 victory over the Lions in Detroit. Since then, they have lost road openers at Buffalo (34-10 in 2008), at San Francisco (33-17 in 2011) and at Arizona (20-16 last season).
Thomas had a game-high 10 tackles, including eight solo stops.
O’Brien Schofield, who started at Leo end, had the Seahawks’ only sack of Panthers QB Cam Newton.
The Panthers ran for 124 yards and a 5-yard average, compared to 70 yards and a 2.7-yard average for the Seahawks.
Wilson completed at least two passes to eight different receivers.
Ryan averaged 49.5 yards, with a net average of 47 yards, on four punts.
The Seahawks have won eight of their last nine regular-season games, going back to the second half of last season.