It wasn't pretty, but the Seahawks managed to pull out on top of the Carolina Panthers 12-7. It definitely didn't start out the way we wanted it to, but it ended with what we had hoped for: a win. As small as this win seems now, it could have serious implications for the playoffs later in the year.
I was personally surprised to see how tough and resilient the Panthers were. Their defense seemed to confuse and bewilder our offensive line time and time again. It was frustrating to watch Russell Wilson constantly under pressure and seemingly have no time to throw the ball. The most frustrating aspect of the game to watch was when we tried to run the ball.
I have never seen Marshawn Lynch run the ball so poorly since he has been in Seattle. I constantly hear how the zone read running attack takes a long time to develop from game to game, and I believe it. I've seen it slowly develop throughout the game many times. But against Carolina, it never developed. There were almost no holes for Lynch to run through (excluding his very last run). The front seven for the Panthers really lived up to their hype in this game. I couldn't tell if it was Marshawn still thinking it was the preseason or if the O-line was just being crappy. Either way, our running game sucked. I know our offensive line coach, Tom Cable, is one of the best in the business and he will get the run game cleaned up. Hopefully it’s before the San Francisco 49ers come to town.
The Hawks were able to come through in the second half and make enough adjustments to win in Carolina. This is a huge East Coast win for the team and one that they should be able to build off of in future East Coast games. Russell Wilson was more Russell Wilson in the second half and hopefully that carries over next week. The Seahawks will need to step it up against the 49ers.
Note: I found this stat surprising about Marshawn: since he became a full time starter for Seattle in 2011, he has nine games with less than 50 yards rushing, including the game on Sunday and the playoffs. That's a lot more than I expected. The Seahawks are now 3-6 in those games.