For Panthers, history repeats itself against the Seahawks
Just like the games in Charlotte the previous two seasons, the Panthers manage to find a way to lose a close one to the Seahawks on Sunday.
The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was deja boo all over again. The same old song. Russell Wilson doing what he does, against a Carolina Panthers team that every year serves up another helping of home-cooked heartbreak.
The Panthers lost 13-9 Sunday in their latest quixotic battle against Seattle. If that doesn’t remind you of the past two years, you haven’t been paying attention.
All three Seattle-Carolina games over the past three years have been played in Charlotte. All three times, the Panthers’ defense has mostly played well enough to win except for an enormous, Wilson-led exception late in the game.
And all three times, the Panthers’ offense has been pretty awful when it really counts. In the three games — Carolina also lost 16-12 in 2012 and 12-7 in 2013 to Seattle — the Panthers have scored only one offensive touchdown.
Quarterback Cam Newton has started all three of those games and directed an offense that has started 28 drives over those 12 quarters.
It has scored a touchdown only once, in 2013, on a Newton pass to Steve Smith.
Sunday, the Panthers moved the ball well early and ended up running 13 plays at or inside Seattle’s 20 in the first half.
None of them ended in a touchdown, even the one when Carolina had a first-and-goal at the Seattle 3 and a third-and-goal at the Seattle 1.
“When you get inside the 5, you scratch, claw, spit, grit — find a way,” Newton said.
But the Panthers didn’t, and that was the main reason they wasted the best defensive performance of the month. They are 1-4-1 over their past six games, with a huge Thursday night home game looming against division rival New Orleans.
Newton heaped the blame on himself for the defeat Sunday, and it’s true this was his worst game of the season. He gave up the ball twice on bad turnovers — a fumble inside the Seattle 20 and a backhanded shovel pass gone wrong that ended up being intercepted.
“I have to be better,” he said. “I will be better.”
It was a sad ending for home fans who sat through an unseasonably warm and sunny day on which the Panthers never trailed in the first 59 minutes. But those missed red-zone opportunities killed Carolina.
“I feel like we left 21 points out there,” Panthers left tackle Byron Bell said.