Russell Wilson clearly wanted the win more than Newton
The Carolina Panthers failed to win again as the Seattle Seahawks flew back west with a 16-12 victory. While it was a defensive struggle, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson clearly outplayed Carolina's Cam Newton.
Both offenses combined for only one touchdown as the Seattle and Carolina defenses looked unbeatable.
With the No. 2 defense in the league, the Seahawks dominated the Panthers offense. The defense held Carolina to 190 total yards and did not allow a single offensive touchdown.
The Panthers defense was less stifling, but still effective. For the most part, Seattle could only muster a field goal at a time, and Carolina played solid run defense as RB Marshawn Lynch only rushed for 85 yards.
Forcing three turnovers and returning an interception for a touchdown, the Panthers defense actually gave Carolina the lead. That did not last long though as DeAngelo Williams fumbled on Carolina's next drive. This set up the Seahawks to score what would be the winning touchdown.
As amazing as the defenses were, this game actually came down to Wilson and Newton. In the end, Wilson outplayed Newton, and Seattle took home the win.
There are a few reasons why Wilson was the better quarterback, and all were essential to the Seahawks' victory.
Cam Newton couldn't get anything going on the ground or through the air
Unless an offense plans on scoring within just a few plays, it needs to sustain drives to be successful. Russell Wilson excelled at this, while Cam Newton failed miserably.
Wilson was the model passer in Week 5. He went 19-of-25 for 221 yards. He was extremely accurate, and he spread the ball around to eight different receivers.
Wilson's accuracy and use of his receivers resulted in the offense converting on seven-of-14 third-down attempts. While he was unable to drive down the field for a touchdown, he was able to string enough first downs together to get into field-goal range. Those field goals kept Seattle in the game and eventually were the difference.
Cam, on the other hand, struggled all day. The offense was two-for-11 on third downs, and the Panthers could only muster 13 first downs for the entire game.
Newton was a big part of Carolina's failure to convert. He only completed 12-of-29 passes for 141 yards.
The Panthers quarterback looked to be too focused on WR Steve Smith. Newton targeted Smith 13 times, but he only completed four passes to the veteran receiver.
Cam's tunnel vision led to missed opportunities as TE Greg Olsen ran free for most of the game. If Newton had spread the ball around, maybe the offense would have scored a touchdown. But since the offense didn't score a touchdown, victory could not be had.
Golden Tate caught the only offensive touchdown of the game
Arguably the signature difference between Russell Wilson and Cam Newton was that Wilson could perform in the clutch.
After a Seattle punt, Carolina had the ball with a 10-7 lead. As luck would have it, DeAngelo Williams fumbled the ball as he was trying to get outside on the run play. The Seahawks recovered the fumble at the Carolina 27-yard-line.
After a first down and a couple plays, Seattle had 3rd-and-8. Wilson hit WR Golden Tate on a slant route, Tate broke free of a tackle and walked into the end zone. This gave the Seahawks a lead that would be good for the rest of the game.
The Panthers had a chance, though. With a little over 10 minutes left in the game, Newton led Carolina on a drive that took almost seven minutes.
The Panthers had 1st-and-goal from the six-yard-line. After a couple of plays that cancelled each other out, WR Louis Murphy ran the ball to within one yard of the end zone.
Cam rolled out and saw TE Ben Hartsock open in the end zone. The pass skipped to him, and Carolina's best chance to take the lead vanished.
When asked about the final play, Newton said, “I didn’t see nothing (with the first read). So I decided to look back, and Ben Hartsock was wide open. And I just failed to throw it to him, give him an accurate throw,” Newton said. “So that comes on me. I pride myself on being very prepared and being able to do things when my number is called. My number was called right there and I didn’t get the job done. I think that’s shame on me.” (Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer).
This was the second week in a row that Cam failed to perform with the game on the line. This will need to change if Carolina wants to win the rest of the season.
Winning is usually the best way to tell what quarterback did better
In the end, this is the NFL, and the score at the end of the game is what matters.
QB Russell Wilson outplayed QB Cam Newton simply because he won. His team scored 16 points, and Newton's team scored 12.
Wilson looked like he wanted to win. He led extended drives, he scored when the team needed him and he didn't focus on just one receiver.
Newton has led his team to a 1-4 record, while Wilson has led his team to a 3-2 record. It is obvious as to who the better quarterback was on Sunday and who has been the better quarterback all season.
As far as coach Ron Rivera is concerned, the season is not over. The slow start is just that—a start.
According to Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer, Rivera said, "This is 1-4 – we are not going to quit.” And “We will find answers.” And “We are going to win. We will. It’s going to happen.”
At least the coach believes that wins will come in the future. With the way Cam has played, it is questionable whether he believes wins will be coming anytime soon.
Despite how these two teams finish, in this game, Russell Wilson proved to be the better quarterback.