Sunday’s game against the Panthers left Hawks fans satisfied with a victory, but not elated with their team’s offensive output. Although the game ended with a Seahawks 12-7 victory, the Hawks showed that there is room for improvement on both sides of the ball. The Hawks couldn’t generate a consistent rushing attack and defensively they had trouble stopping the run. Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch only gained 43 yards on the ground while Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams racked up 86 yards on the exact same number of carries. Despite their inability to stop the run, the defensive secondary had another spectacular game, allowing only one TD through the air. S Earl Thomas contributed in a huge way to the Hawks secondary success, leading both teams in tackles and causing a fumble that clinched the game for the Hawks. The positive output from the secondary was matched by the Seahawks ability to pass the football. WR Doug Baldwin led the team in receptions and his performance was a big reason why Wilson and the Hawks had success through the air.
Surprisingly, the Seahawks inadequate rushing performance was identical to their inefficiency in stopping the run. Without starting defensive lineman Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, and Bruce Irvin, the Hawks Defensive Line was banged up, and the remaining front four had no answer to containing the rush. Running back DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers, had the exact same number of rushing attempts as the Hawks, but racked up almost twice the amount of rushing yards. With the Seahawks allowing 134 yards on the ground, the Panthers averaged 5.7 yards per rush. Thankfully, the Seahawks secondary picked up the slack.
The Legion of Boom was without CB Brandon Browner this Sunday, but because of their depth at the corner back position, they were still successful in shutting down the Panthers pass attack. The Seahawks held Cam Newton to only 125 yards passing and a single TD. They played terrific in man to man coverage and it seemed as if Earl Thomas was everywhere. E. Thomas recorded 10 combined tackles and caused a fumble that sealed their victorious fate. Excelling at finding space in the Panther’s zone coverage, WR Doug Baldwin had a big game as well, catching 7 passes for a total of 91 yards. Baldwin was a huge part of Russell Wilson’s success through the air against Carolina. Wilson completed 25 of his 33 passes for 320 yards and a TD. Wilson’s only TD pass to Kearse was a great example of the Hawks’ ability to expose the opposition. Following an unsuccessful pass completion to WR Stephen Williams, Wilson and the Seahawks recognized that the Panther’s CB Josh Thomas was getting beat when he faced Seahawks receivers in man to man coverage. On the play after the incompletion, Kearse breezed by Thomas and ran a go up the right side-line. Wilson went right back to Josh Thomas’ side of the field and threw a perfect ball to Kearse in the end zone.