The Seattle Seahawks (8-3-1) took on what has been their arch rival over the last few years in the Carolina Panthers (4-8) in a game pitting the previous two NFC champions against one another. However, the struggles of the Panthers have taken some of the shine off of this match up, as the Seahawks roll to a 40-7 victory.
This one went pretty much exactly how I expected. The Panthers are a mess. The quarterback can’t even dress himself. Cam Newton was benched for the first play of the game due to a uniform violation. Instead, the ghost of Derek Anderson took the first snap, immediately throwing an interception. That Panthers defense didn’t fare much better. They caused a grand total of one punt all day. The return of Justin Britt to the Seahawks offensive line made a big difference. That unit played really well. Yes, they gave up three sacks but two of those were caused by Russell Wilson, and they were great run blocking. Thomas Rawls had over one hundred yards in the first half. Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Tyler Lockett all had nearly the same number of yards and catches, as they were all open and Wilson as able to spread the ball around. By the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson was watching his backup Trevone Boykin finish mopping up the Panthers.
Defensively, the Seahawks were again dominant. The big story however is the loss of Earl Thomas for the rest of the year to a broken leg. That is a huge loss. He is what makes this defensive scheme work. You could see the result, as Carolina immediately threw right at backup free safety Steven Terrell and scored their only points a fifty-five yard completion to Ted Ginn Jr. Outside of that, the Panthers were held to 271 yards of total offense, forcing six punts. Complete domination.