Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 37-27 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Lumen Field:
Seattle’s 1-2 punch at running back of Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet put on an impressive display as the duo combined to gain 143 physical yards, with Walker also rushing for two touchdowns. Quarterback Geno Smith didn’t have his sharpest day, particularly in the first half, but he was much improved in the second, which helped the Seahawks turn drives into touchdowns (three in the second half) instead of field goals (five in the first half). The offense came up big in the fourth quarter when it trucked right down the field for a touchdown immediately after Carolina scored to pull within 22-20.
For the first time this season, Seattle had an effective pass rush as the Seahawks sacked Carolina quarterback Andy Dalton three times and registered 11 quarterback hits. There was a big breakdown in the secondary for the Panthers’ 47-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark in the second quarter. Carolina’s running game was so bottled up (44 yards on 14 carries) that the Panthers didn’t even try to run the ball for most of the second half. Granted, Carolina’s offense has been hapless this season, and starting quarterback Bryce Young was out injured, but it was a promising performance.
Kicker Jason Myers had a shaky start to the season, going just 3-for-6 on field goals through the first two weeks. However, he righted the ship by going 5-for-5 Sunday, tying the franchise record for most field goals made in a game. DeeJay Dallas took some big risks with his decisions to field punt returns, but he somehow made it work. Seattle’s kickoff and punt coverage was largely solid, minus one kickoff where it appeared the unit was surprised when the returner decided to bring it out from deep in the end zone. There was no drama on Carolina’s late onside kick attempt.
The play call choices in the second half were on point, particularly with the way Seattle was able to get Walker and Charbonnet in space when playing with the lead. The pass rush was aided by some well-timed blitz calls that led to sacks that killed Carolina drives. The decision to go for it on fourth-and-one from the 29 in the first quarter was a surprising one, but it just worked out as Seattle made it by an inch. Pete Carroll’s decision to challenge a Panthers completion in the third quarter was unsuccessful, and he’s now 1-for-his-last-8 on challenges.
Seattle was favored in this one, and at halftime it was closer than the Seahawks would have liked. However, Seattle took care of business in the second half, and with the 2013 Super Bowl winners in attendance the Seahawks were able to give them the victory celebration they deserved. And full credit to the home crowd. The Lumen Field advantage hasn’t been what it once was lately, but the fans helped draw eight false starts from the Carolina offense. Maybe that was channeled from the Class of 2013 reunion as well.