The Seattle Seahawks had three blown fourth-quarter leads heading into Sunday’s game against the Panthers.
Carolina made it four.
Tight end Greg Olsen caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cam Newton with 30 seconds to play, giving the Panthers a 27-23 victory over the two-time defending NFC Champions.
The Panthers clawed back from a fourth-quarter deficit that at one time was 13 points to move to 5-0 on the season for only the second time. The first time? When the Panthers advanced to the Super Bowl in 2003.
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“This was one of the bigger victories we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “I think one of the things that really stood out and one of the things you really like about what happened was the resiliency.”
The offense was buoyed by the hard running of Jonathan Stewart and hands of Olsen as Newton suffered through a two-interception day.
Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham lit up the Panthers secondary for 140 yards for his biggest game of the season after weeks of light use as Seattle (2-4) tried to figure out how to work him into its offense.
Three who mattered
Josh Norman: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson did not target a receiver covered by Norman once in the game. The only pass that came near Norman was a screen that Norman sniffed out quickly and made the stop.
Jonathan Stewart: Faced with an eight-man box for most of the game, Stewart ran hard, carrying 20 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
Luke Kuechly: In his first game back from a concussion, Kuechly was in on seemingly every Marshawn Lynch tackle. He finished the game with 14 stops.
▪ Linebacker Shaq Thompson left the game with under a minute left when he appeared to injure his left knee making a tackle on the kickoff return. “It didn’t sound as bad as it looked but we will see,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said afterward. Thompson said it was a sprained knee and that he is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.
▪ Devin Funchess had and up-and-down day. He had a drop in the first half and then couldn’t hang on to what would have been a first down on a Panthers’ scoring drive inside the 20 in the third quarter. He had a second drop on a fourth-quarter drive that almost led to an interception. But he had key catches on Carolina’s two fourth-quarter touchdown drives.
▪ The Panthers had three false start penalties in the second quarter. Two went against Olsen and a third against Jerricho Cotchery.
▪ Newton’s second-quarter touchdown was the 36th rushing touchdown of his career, tying him with Michael Vick for fourth-most in the NFL by a quarterback since the merger.
▪ Cornerback Teddy Williams left the game in the second quarter with what was officially called a head injury after making a special teams tackle. Williams did not return.
▪ Tight end Richie Brockel was inactive after missing part of the week at practice with a hamstring injury. He was joined on the list by Dean Marlowe, Brandon Wegher, A.J. Klein, Daryl Williams, Jared Allen and Kevin Norwood.
▪ Charles Johnson didn’t let being on the injured reserve stop him from coming to Seattle. Johnson funded his trip out to the Pacific Northwest and cheered on the team as a fan as he remains on the IR-designated to return list.
▪ Rapper and Seattle native Sir Mix-a-Lot raised the 12th Man flag before the start of the game. At halftime, rapper Macklemore played a fan in Guitar Hero at halftime on the field.
They said it
“He was tremendous.” – Rivera on Kuechly, who returned after missing thee games while in the concussion protocol.
“It’s what you got to do. Just got to go out there and make a play. Came down the field unblocked one on one. Make the tackle. Got to make the play.” – Shaq Thompson on his final play that led to a knee injury.
“It’s very frustrating. Especially when you know, we had them. We don’t (stink). We know who we are. We’re not finishing. We know we’re going to be in those pressure situations every game. We know that.” – Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas