They might not have won any style points among the New York Fashion Week crowd, but the Seattle Seahawks still managed to turn out a victory against the Carolina Panthers in a hard-fought 12-7 opening day win.
Facing a stout Panthers run defense that limited Seattle to just 70 rushing yards, the Seahawks got their only touchdown of the day on a pretty 43-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse that put them ahead 12-7 with 10:13 to play. On the next possession, the Panthers put together a nice drive that had them deep into Seattle territory, but safety Earl Thomas forced a DeAngelo Williams fumble that was recovered by the Seahawks at the 8 yard line. Seattle held on to win thanks to a clock-chewing closing drive that included a 14-yard first down run by Marshawn Lynch, clinching the game after Carolina spent its last timeout with 2:14 left.
Seattle looked sloppy for much of the game, committing 9 penalties for 109 yards that extended Carolina’s drives and kept them in the game. But the defense played well enough to overcome their mistakes, holding Cam Newton to just 125 yards on 16 of 23 passing, with an additional 38 yards rushing. They limited Carolina to under 250 yards of offense and, most importantly, came up with crucial stops and turnovers when it mattered the most.
Wilson had a solid outing, finishing 25-33 with 320 yards, a touchdown and a fumble. He was fairly well contained early in the first game of his sophomore season, but he came through in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. The same could be said of Lynch, who prior to his game-clinching run had only 29 yards on 16 carries.
Seattle won the all-important turnover battle 2-1, with their first coming on a special teams play when Byron Maxwell got Josh Thomas to cough up the ball on a punt return. Seattle also notched two field goals from kicker Steven Hauschka.
Seattle’s next game is their home-opener against division rival San Francisco.