If you are a casual Carolina fan, you may be forgiven for thinking that the Panthers have never, ever beaten Seattle.
After all, Seattle has already beaten Carolina in calendar year 2015, as well as in 2014, 2013 and 2012. Like refereeing controversies, torn ACLs and Peyton Manning commercials, every recent NFL season seems to come complete with a Seattle victory over Carolina.
But the Panthers have actually beaten the Seahawks before – you just have to go back a ways. So today we will turn back our flashback time machine all the way back to Dec. 16, 2007, the last time Carolina won a game over the Seahawks.
In some ways, it wasn’t that long ago. The two quarterbacks were Matt Hasselbeck for Seattle and Matt Moore for Carolina. Both remain in the NFL – albeit as backup QBs for different teams. Thomas Davis played in that game, too, and forced a key fumble.
In some ways, it seems like forever ago. John Fox was Carolina’s coach. Mike Holmgren coached Seattle. Russell Wilson was 19 years old and redshirting his first year at N.C. State. Cam Newton was 18, a freshman stuck behind Tim Tebow at Florida.
It was an odd game on a chilly, windy day, and it felt a lot like soccer for a long time. The game was tied – at 0-0! – entering the fourth quarter.
Then came a flurry of 23 points, with Carolina ultimately winning 13-10.
The game wasn’t quite as close as it sounded – Seattle’s only touchdown came with one second left, on a deflected pass. Otherwise, the score would have been 13-3.
It was an upset, just like a victory for Carolina Sunday in Seattle would be. The 2007 Seahawks had already clinched a playoff spot, and Carolina had lost its six of its previous seven games and was close to finishing a disappointing 7-9 season.
Moore, a rookie, made his first NFL start in the game. Carolina had already cycled through Jake Delhomme (who got hurt), David Carr and 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde at quarterback before Fox – who hated to play rookies – finally went to Moore, an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State.
DeAngelo Williams scored Carolina’s only touchdown, on a 35-yard run. Carolina’s defense played beautifully – a rookie named Charles Johnson finally got some playing time.
But the headlines belonged to Moore, who had been fired by the Dallas Cowboys despite a stellar preseason. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 208 yards in his first NFL start.
After that performance, a certain Charlotte Observer sports columnist wondered in print whether the Panthers just might have found their own version of Tony Romo in Moore.
Ok, that was me.
Not my finest moment.
But it was a nice moment for the Panthers. Eight years ago, they proved that it was technically possible for a Carolina team to beat Seattle.
Could it happen again Sunday?