Panthers' Run Game
In the first half, Carolina’s offense got off to a good start and this was due to their commitment to the run game. On the Panthers’ first 30 plays, they ran the ball 20 times to only 10 passes. It helped them get out to a six point lead and control the clock holding the ball for over 18 minutes in the first half.
The second half was a different story as they threw the ball (12) more than they ran the ball (10) and lost the time of possession battle with only 13 minutes of possession in the second half. This shift in play calling was surprising, considering the Panthers were up for most of the game. This time of possession battle is going to be extremely important Thursday night as they try to keep Drew Brees on the sidelines.
There is no questioning Cam Newton has the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback and there are times where he leaves fans amazed at what he can do. Unfortunately, it isn’t always good plays that amaze fans. There are plays that leave fans scratching their head and asking why.
The game today was a perfect example of the frustration that is Cam Newton. The Panthers quarterback started the game 8 for 10 for 90 yards and no interceptions. Newton was playing within the offense, taking what the defense was giving him and was able to give the Panthers a lead.
The second half was where it started to fall apart as it seemed Newton started to press and was trying to force plays. In the final two quarters, Newton went 4 of 12 for 81 yards and a poorly thrown interception.
The turnovers are starting to become a bit of a trend for the Panthers quarterback, now throwing an interception in each of the last four games. This is not the same Newton that started the year with not a single interception through the first three games.
Newton needs to get back to playing within the offense and making better decisions to really help this offense get back on track.
Defense Looked Vastly Improved
Entering this game, the Panthers defense looked like they were heading for another long day at the office. They entered this game ranked 24th against the run with Seattle’s offense ranking second in the NFL in rushing. The Panthers defense was able to hold the Seahawks to 119 yards on the ground and were able to keep Russell Wilson contained for most of the game.
The secondary also looked much better this week, especially with the return of Josh Norman. The cornerback for the Panthers made key plays including a fumble recovery as well as an interception at the end of the first half. The interception was big because Seattle was driving and at the very least looked like they would be able to tie the game up at six heading into halftime.
The second half was where the defense started to let up a bit, giving up a few key plays that allowed Seattle to get the win. In the first half, the Seahawks were held to 110 yards of offense and three points however in the second half Seattle generated 208 yards and 10 points.
These aren’t huge numbers by any means but when they see the offense struggling, the defense needs to step up and make a statement. If Carolina won this game, that is exactly what would have happened but the questions are still there thanks to the late touchdown.