Seahawks Have Luck, Defense On Their Side As They Take On Panthers In Week 5 Battle
Seattle by the numbers
2012 Record: 2-2
Record vs. Panthers: 3-2
Streak vs. Panthers: W1
Last Meeting: Seahawks 31, Panthers 14 (Dec. 5, 2010 – Quest Field)
Next Game: Sunday at Bank of American Stadium, Charlotte (73,504) @ 4:05 p.m.
Connections: Panthers’ assistant wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl played for the Seahawks from 1995-96 – Seahawks assistant special teams coach Marquand Manuel played for the Panthers in 2007.
It has been a long time since the Seahawks came to the Carolinas. In fact, it was back in December of 2007; but this Sunday it will be a much different team that will take the field in Charlotte.
Seattle may be the luckiest team in the National Football League this season having won their second of the season on one of the more controversial calls in league annals. A last second interception was ruled a “simultaneous” catch and therefore a game winning touchdown that would end the grand experiment of replacement referees.
Instead of entering Week 5 of the season with the identical record posted by the Panthers, the Seahawks come in even at two up and two down but more importantly they catch the host team in a bit of a spiral having lost a heartbreaker to division rival Atlanta last week and a thumping at the hands of the New York Giants.
Led by Pete Carroll, who is in his 19th NFL season and 3rd as head coach in Seattle, the Seahawks are a defensive juggernaut ranking in the top 10 in the majority of major categories, including second in four of them: Total yards (275.8), rushing (62.8), rushing yards per attempt (3.0) and points per game (14.5). The last statistic shows that Sunday’s contest could very well be a low scoring affair.
The Seahawks are a quarterback magnet having dropped him a dozen times in four games with defensive end Chris Clemons leading the way with five. While not returning any for touchdowns, they also have three interceptions. Richard Sherman has two of them averaging 14.5 yards per pick.
On the other side of the ball, Seattle has had their problems with rookie signal caller Russell Wilson under center. While hitting 60 percent of his passes, the Wisconsin alum has as many touchdowns as interceptions
;four. The 23-year old has thrown for 594 yards but his 73.5 passer rating is 27th overall.
While Wilson is still feeling his way around the NFL, the Seahawks still have one of the premier running backs in Marshawn Lynch. The 26-year old is the top rusher with 423 yards and yards per game (105.8).
There is always a little concern with a first year quarterback, although he isn’t the only worry for Pete Carroll. Receiver Doug Baldwin battled a hamstring problem during camp and had a couple of teeth knocked out in the season opener and had to have hours of dental surgery, and missed game three with a shoulder injury.
Baldwin became the first undrafted rookie to lead his team in receptions, 51, since the 1970 merger but the stat the jumps off the page is that 25 of them came on third down. So far this season? Four catches for 23 yards and over the last two games (Seattle is 1-1). Russell Wilson is 1-10 on third downs being sacked twice and was also picked off.
If Baldwin is healthy for this sixth match-up between the two clubs, the Panthers are going to have their hands full.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.