Reporting Brett Jensen
The Panthers take the field today without the services of Chris Gamble or Jon Beason, but thankfully Haruki Nakamura and Armanti Edwards are there to help save the day against Seattle. It’s a good thing, too, because this is truly a must-win for Carolina, even though it’s Week 5.
As I sit here in the press box at Bank of America Stadium, I can’t help but think just huge of a difference there is between 1-4 and 2-3. As the game progresses, I’ll offer my thoughts on key plays, players and decisions by the coaches. Just remember, for the most part these are not profound or life-changing statements.
The Panthers go three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, which allows Seattle to take a 3-0 lead on its first possession. Carolina goes three-and-out again and is darn lucky that an awful Cam Newton pass wasn’t picked off. Once again, the Panthers punt.
The Seahawks would most likely had scored again if not for a holding call that negated a LOOOOONG pass play to Golden Tate. Moments later, Seattle punted.
This game is about as listless a as the crowd, although I’ll admit the size of the crowd could be a lot worse. Between the weather, the opponent, the starting time and Carolina’s record, having a stadium 70-75% full isn’t all bad. But it’d be nice to actually see a full stadium for once that didn’t also include a 30% showing from the opponent’s fans.
END OF FIRST QUARTER
SEATTLE 3, CAROLINA NOTHING
The offensive game plan for Seattle has become pretty obvious – go with extra receivers to get the Panthers in a nickle defense, which means Captain, Norman and some guy named Josh Thomas are all on the field at the same time. It’s working.
Another thing is becoming obvious, in third-and-long or second-and-long situations, Haruki is being replaced by Sherrod Martin.
Panthers do well to keep Seattle out of the end zone, but the it still scores a field to take a 6-0 lead with 8:29 left in the first half. This is one of those games that you wish you were at home eating tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.
Thus far, it’s hard to tell who the rookie quarterback is. Russell Wilson is 10-for-11 passing, while Cam Newton is 1-for-7.
The game is moving along at a snails pace.
I’ve seen more scoring in a convent.
The only time the crowd makes a noise is to either boo or groan in disappointment.
The Panthers are given a gift by the Seattle defense on a roughing-the-passer penalty on a failed third-down attempt. Carolina keeps the ball.
BTW, Cam is now 1-for-10, with two batted passes at the line of scrimmage.
Another dropped interception by the Seattle defense.
Carolina has done absolutely nothing all game. The only reason the Seattle isn’t up by three touchdowns is because it keeps committing unforced errors. The Seahawks have killed themselves with penalties and mistakes.
The best play by the Panthers this half has been to do nothing and let Seattle screw up somehow.
Cam is now 2-for-14. He’s missing wide open receivers. He’s not using his legs. He’s throwing flat-footed.
SEATTLE 6, CAROLINA 3
Quick halftime stats: Passing: Russell Wilson 12-13 123 yards, Cam Newton 3-15 40 yards; TOP: Seattle 19:28, Carolina 10:32.
Opening kickoff of the second half and Seattle commits another mistake by fumbling. Carolina takes over at the Seattle 37.
So the presence of Emily Maynard at the game not only caused a distraction in the stands, but in the press box, as well. Media members, and I won’t say which PERSON it was, were taking photos of her down below in the section right below the press box. They were giddy and excited.
Carolina couldn’t score from the gift from Seattle.
But the mistakes by Seattle just keep coming.
Russell Wilson throws a bad pass and it is returned for interception for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn. And I don’t want to hear a single reference about Captain and his qualities as a player. One play doesn’t erase a career.
Carolina goes up 10-6 midway through the third on the Pick-6.
Seattle takes the kickoff and is driving deep once again. Wilson throws a pass that hits RB Marshawn Lynch in the hands and it bounces right into the waiting arms of Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Carolina is somehow winning this miserable game 10-6.
It took until six minutes left in the third quarter for the Panthers to break the 100-yard mark in total offense.
Cam Newton is 5-19 for 55 yards.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out how in the world Seattle is losing. Seattle has outgained Carolina 246 to 106 in yardage.
And DeAngelo fumbles, giving the Seahawks a first down at the Carolina 27.
There’s this guy beside me that has gone through four bags of popcorn, a pregame meal that involved chicken and green beans, and a hot dog at halftime. This guy eats more than Frank Garcia.
Seattle just scored to take a 13-10 lead with 35 seconds left in the third quarter. Golden Tate scores on a touchdown after Thomas Davis failed to tackle him. When are people going to start actually using their arms and shoulders to make a tackle and not going in for the big blow up?
Cam is continuing to look horrible… 5-of-20 for 55 yards. If this were Jimmy Clausen or Jake Delhomme, the fans would be throwing things on the field.
Speaking of throwing things on the field, I wonder if Atlanta Braves fans are still doing that from Friday night.
END OF 4TH QUARTER
SEATTLE 13, CAROLINA 10 (Somehow)
Carolina avoids disaster by holding Seattle to a field goal. It’s now 16-10 with 10:27 left.
The Carolina Panthers have eight first downs in this game. Let me restate that…EIGHT!!!!
Even though this is a one-score game with a ton of time left, this stadium is emptying really quick. It might be half full. UGH!!
Cam just made his best throw of the day, a 24-yard strike to Greg Olson, it’s first reception of the day. Cam follows that up with a nice 14-yard pass to Steve Smith, and just like that the ball is at the Seattle 31.
For the first time all game, Carolina has gotten its offense going without getting any gifts from the Seattle defense. It’s looked good, crisp and in rhythm.
It’s now 4th-and-goat at the 1. Carolina is going for it.
Just an awful pass by Cam. Tight end Ben Hartsock was wide open and Cam threw a pass that landed five yards short on a 10-yard pass. Seattle holds and takes over at its 1.
Panthers had a chance to hold on third down, but Charles Johnson, he of the $76 million contract, failed to tackle Lynch well short of the first-down marker and as a result, the drive keeps going for Seattle.
Seattle takes a safety and leads 16-12.
Carolina starts at the 31 with 54 seconds left, down four.
On second down, the Seahawks rush four, get to Cam and he fumbles. Seattle recovers and that’s the ballgame.
Cam leaves the field after only talking to Russell Wilson.
In all honesty, this game should have been won by at least three touchdowns by Seattle. And as Taylor Zarzour just said, “Thank God, for Triangle football.”
Time to go see if Cam mopes or is OK.
We should be in for another rip-roaring week at WFNZ. I’m sure all you listeners will have nothing to say.
Thanks for reading, and remember, stay thirsty my friends.