Carolina Panthers drop season-opener to Seattle

Carolina Panthers drop season-opener to Seattle

Credit: Kevin Ridley

Carolina Panthers drop season-opener to Seattle

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by Joseph Person / Charlotte Observer

WCNC.com

Posted on September 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 8 at 4:07 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It was a new season, but the same old result for the Panthers in their season opener Sunday against Seattle.

Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 320 yards and the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter to lead the Seahawks to a come-from-behind, 12-7 victory before an announced crowd of 73,294 at Bank of America Stadium.

The loss drops the Panthers to 2-13 in games decided by a touchdown or less under third-year coach Ron Rivera.

The Panthers are now 6-13 all-time in season openers and haven't won a Week 1 game since 26-24 victory at San Diego in 2008, the last time they made the playoffs.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton completed 16 for 23 for a career-low 125 yards and one touchdown against a Seattle secondary regarded as one of the league's best.

The Panthers were driving for the potential go-ahead score when running back DeAngelo Williams fumbled at the end of a 16-yard run. Seattle safety Earl Thomas caused the fumble, and defensive Tony McDaniel recovered at the Seahawks' 8 with 5:25 left.

The Seahawks picked up several first downs and ran out on the clock following the Williams' fumble.

The Panthers led 7-3 at halftime, on the strength of a Steve Smith touchdown catch and solid work from their defense.

Smith's 3-yard catch from Newton was the only touchdown of a first half in which neither team managed 150 yards of offense.

The Seahawks were driving for a potential score late in the half, helped by a personal foul penalty by Panthers backup defensive end Frank Alexander. When Alexander punched Seahawks tackle Breno Giacomini, the penalty negated Charles Godfrey's sack of Russell Wilson -- the Panthers' first of the day -- and resulted in a disqualification for Alexander.

But defensive end Charles Johnson bailed Alexander out three plays later when he sacked Wilson, forcing a fumble that Johnson recovered at the Panthers' 19 with 35 seconds left in the second quarter.

Steven Hauschka's second field goal pulled the Seahawks to 7-6 with 2:22 left in the second quarter.

The Seahawks started picking on Panthers cornerback on their next possession. Wilson found Golden Tate for a third-down conversion, despite tight coverage by Thomas.

Wilson then threw deep twice toward Thomas' side. Seattle wideou Stephen Williams dropped the first one.

But on the next play, Wilson again went after Thomas and Jermaine Kearse got behind him for a 43-yard touchdown catch that gave the Seahawks their first lead at 12-7 with 10:13 remaining. Wilson's pass on the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt was incomplete.

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