Seattle Seahawks Crush Carolina Panthers: 5 Thoughts From 'Hawks Win
After the Carolina Panthers got out to a 14-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks, the home crowd was enraged and let the home team know how they felt with a chorus of boos.
It seemed to wake up the Seahawks as they responded with 31 unanswered points—28 in the second half—to walk away with a 31-14 victory. The win kept Seattle tied for the NFC West lead with St. Louis, which also won today.
On the other side the Panthers fell to 1-11, continuing a dismal season.
Here are five thoughts from today's game regarding both squads.
Seahawks Find Running Game
Marshawn Lynch scored three touchdowns for the Seahawks and rushed for 83 yards on 21 carries. Justin Forsett finished with 60 yards on just six carries. Seattle finished with 161 rushing yards.
This coming from a team that ranked dead last in rushing yards per game with 77.9 per contest. Although it did come against a Carolina defense that has been abused on the ground lately, it still is a step in the right direction for Pete Carroll's team.
Jimmy Clausen Continues to Struggle
The Seahawk defense had no trouble containing Clausen and the Panther receivers. Seattle continually pressured Clausen—something the young quarterback has grown accustomed to on a weekly basis.
But even when the former Notre Dame QB had time to throw, he didn't do much and threw a terrible pick-six that gave Seattle the lead that it would never relinquish.
It may be unfair to judge Clausen considering the Panthers as a whole are downright terrible. But if Andrew Luck comes out—it would be absurd if he didn't—Carolina would undoubtedly take him right now unless Clausen makes a big step forward from now to the end of the season.
Matt Hasselbeck Does Just Enough
The Seattle QB hasn't exactly lit up this year and his no-TD, two-interception performance against Carolina could have been better. Yet when the Seahawks needed a big play to convert a first down, Hasselbeck found a way.
With Mike Williams leaving the game to an injury, Hasselbeck was without his top target. That definitely hurt the passing attack, but the running game picked up the slack.
Hasselbeck is going to have to step up his play if the Seahawks are going to get back into the playoffs because they won't have the luxury of playing the Panthers anymore the rest of the season. His two picks were both on bad decisions that would have came back to haunt Seattle if they weren't playing the league's worst team.
The Panthers committed eight penalties for 53 yards and had three that gave the Seahawks a first down. When Mike Goodson returned a kickoff to the house to seemingly get the Panthers back into the game, it was called back due to holding.
Penalties have been a problem all year long for Carolina, and when you are a younger, less-talented team you can't continue to shoot yourselves in the foot. John Fox teams are generally well-coached, but this squad isn't showing that type of discipline.
Right now, all Carolina can think about is next season and the possibility of having the No. 1 draft pick. Thanks to Seattle it still is leading the race.
Despite coming out flat and playing an atrocious first half that saw the Seahawks trailing by 11 going into the locker room, they came back in the second half and played a great half of football.
It could have been easy for this team to lay down and get blown out for the third consecutive week, but this time the Seahawks were resilient and battled back in front of the home crowd. If Seattle wouldn't have came back to win this game, it very well could have been the final blow that would have sent them spiraling the rest of the season.
Nevertheless they did come back and managed to keep pace with the Rams and now will look to get over .500 on the road against San Francisco. It will take more performances like this if the Seahawks hope to edge out Sam Bradford's Rams.