The Seattle Seahawks fell behind early to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game during the first half and couldn’t quite make up for it in the second half.
The Panthers took a 31-point first half deficit, which was too much to overcome as the Seahawks came up short after roaring back in the second half, falling 31-24 to the Panthers.
The Seahawks struggled early in the game committing two critical turnovers that proved to be the difference in the game. Russell Wilson’s two interceptions led to 14 Panthers’ points early in the first half. The Panthers dominated the offensive and defensive battle upfront, keeping the Seahawks offense to 113 yards with a time of possession of just under 11 minutes in the first half. The Panthers’ offense was able to physically outmatch the Seahawks’ defense in the first half stringing together long sustained drives dominating the time of possession.
Seahawks trailed 31-0.
There was no quit in Seattle. Down by 31 at the half, Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks’ players still believed that they could win this game. The opening play of the second half proved to be the spark the Seahawks needed to get started. The phenomenal All-Pro return man Tyler Lockett set up the Seahawks with an electric 50-yard return, on top of a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the Panthers. Receiver Jermaine Kearse capped off the drive with a 13-yard touchdown thrown by Wilson which set the tone for the Hawks’ second half surge. Wilson connected with Kearse often and he led the Seahawks’ comeback attempt with 11 receptions, 110 yards and two touchdowns on 15 targets. But they couldn’t connect on a critical 3rd-and-15 when they were driving on the Carolina 18 yard line. The Seahawks had to settle for a 36-yard field goal coming up a bit short of a historic comeback.
Key plays in the game:
The first offensive drive of the game for Seattle proved disastrous. It seemed that Russell Wilson and a healthy Marshawn Lynch weren’t entirely on the same page. On the second offensive snap of the game Wilson tried to avoid taking a sack and flipped an errant throw to Lynch. Lynch hadn’t turned his head around to locate the ball and the pass was intercepted by Panthers’ linebacker Luke Kuechly and taken back for six that put Seattle in an early deficit.
Right before the closing seconds of the first half the Seahawks drove the ball down to the Carolina 37 yard line setting themselves up for a 55-yard field goal attempt before halftime. Steven Hauschka had the distance but pulled it wide right, leaving the Seahawks off the board going into the halftime down 31-0 to the Panthers. The Seahawks were unable to come away with any points from their two promising drives in the first half leaving them in too big of a hole for them to overcome.