Despite a very slow start and penalties galore, the Seahawks managed to carry over their road success from the second half of last season to yesterdays 12-7 victory over the Panthers. Below are my quick grades from Week 1.
Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks ground game was shut down by the Panthers front seven, forcing Russell Wilson to carry the Seahawks, unlike last season when the roles were reversed. All Wilson did was pass for a career high 320 yards to go with a game winning 43-yard touchdown strike to Jermaine Kearse. Eight different receivers caught at least two passes from Wilson, but I’d still like to see Zach Miller featured more in the passing attack. 12 points against a Panthers defense won’t cut it when facing teams like the 49ers.
Cam Newton was held to 125 yards passing and DeAngelo Williams failed to reach 80 yards rushing as the defense limited the Panthers to just the one touchdown over four quarters. Newton suprised with his high level of play but the Seahawks had just enough pressure to disrupt the third year #1 pick.
Richard Sherman and the secondary caused some key incompletions, although they were helped by dropped passes by a few Panthers, namely Greg Olsen. Earl Thomas forced a timely fumble in the red zone just as it looked like DeAngelo Williams might score a TD. The defensive line had a bend but don’t break approach as they let Williams run for multiple medium gains, but ultimately denied the Panthers any rushing touchdowns.
Golden Tate had four punt returns for a total of only 44 yards (22 long), but his ability to create at least a medium gain out of what seemed like nothing allowed the Seahawks to start in respectable field position rather than be pinned back in their own territory on nearly every drive.
Steven Hauschka converted on both of his field goal attempts (40, 27 yards) and punter Jon Ryan did what he does best – booming punts high and deep allowing the defenders to swarm the Panthers and forcing a turnover as one of his kicks struck a Panthers player and the Seahawks recovered.
Penalties were an issue as the Seahawks more than double the Panthers total. 9 penalties for a total of 109 yards is something the coaching staff will need to address before they face the 49ers at CenturyLink on Sunday Night Football. One bright moment in yesterday game was Breno Giacomini’s composure when Frank Alexander punched him in the face, drawing a flag and an ejection from the game. I highly recommend you check out this GIF of the incident.
Tom Cable also has some work to do with the offensive line as Russell Wilson was constantly under heavy pressure. I can’t remember too many plays when Wilson had time to throw inside the pocket, as he was always scrambling to avoid being sacked.
Do you agree with my evaluation, 12th Man?