Russell Wilson set a career record for passing yards as the Seahawks defeat the Panthers on the road in Week 1, 12-7. Things got a little heated as Panthers defender Frank Alexander was ejected from the game and is sure to be fined for his punch to the face of Seahawks guard Breno Giacomini (GIF).
The defensive driven game was not at all what many expected as the high-scoring Seahawks offense we saw over the second half of the 2012 season didn’t show up until the final quarter. Marshawn Lynch was limited to 43 yards on 17 carries (2.5 ypc) and second-year running back Robert Turbin added 17 yards on the ground. Rookie Christine Michael didn’t touch the ball on offense all day.
Because the Seahawks had such a tough time establishing any kind of a running attack, Russell Wilson had his best day through the air in his short NFL career. The 5′ 10” quarterback threw for 320 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions (115.7 QBR) while completing at least two passes to eight different receivers. Doug Baldwin led the team with 7 catches for 91 yards while former Washington Huskies wideout, Jermaine Kearse, had two catches for 49 yards and hauled in the only touchdown (43 yards) of the day for the Seahawks.
Earl Thomas led all Seahawks defenders with 10 tackles while 4-year veteran O’Brien Schofield had the lone sack on Cam Newton. Another sack against Newton was called back after defensive end Michael Bennett was called for a penalty, hands to the facemask, which seemed pretty questionable. Newton, despite solid, efficient play was limited to just 125 yards passing. The Panthers rushing attack gained 124 thanks to DeAngelo Williams’ 16 carries for 76 yards.
During an interview for Fox Sports earlier this week, Richard Sherman said that his goal for the season was 14 interceptions, which would tie the NFL record. Early in the first quarter Sherman had a perfect opportunity for his first but wasn’t able to hold on to the ball and came away with a pass defensed instead.
Heading into the upcoming week the Seahawks will have to focus on improving their offensive line play and limiting penalties. The Seahawks were penalized more than twice what the Panthers were, causing 9 yellow flags for a total of 109 yards. Wilson was sacked twice and used his Frank Tarkenton impressions to avoid at least another half dozen. One such instance resulted in a “hail mary” desperation pass that was intended to go out of play to be caught by Doug Baldwin for a 13 yard gain thanks to some miraculous footwork.