The Panthers are coming off two division titles and was entering Week 6 as one of the few undefeated teams left in the NFL. However, this Panthers' team and the validity of their undefeated season seemed to be in question. Entering this week, the Panthers opponents had a combined record of 5-15 and the fact they haven't been tested with what many view as a quality opponent.
Well after the Panthers' victory over the Seahawks, it would be foolish to ask those questions. It is rare to have a playoff atmosphere for a game, especially one this early in the season, but that is exactly what happened in this game between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks.The Seahawks knew the importance of this game and it was clear that these are two teams that don't like each other.
This is not to say that the Panthers don't respect the Seahawks because the Panthers have built their team in a similar manner and Seattle has been where Carolina wants to go.
However, as Ric Flair has said, "To be the man, ya gotta beat the man."
Well if Carolina wanted to be considered one of the top teams in the NFC, they knew that respect came through Seattle. As an organization, the Panthers had never won in Seattle and had lost five consecutive games, including the NFC Divisional playoff game last year.
In a sense this was a turning point for this Panthers' team, and specifically Cam Newton. After a rocky start, that included two interceptions, Newton settled down and led this team back from a 13-point second half deficit. The big play came in the final minute of the game when he threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen.
Newton didn't do this on his own though as the defense started to tighten up and made it tough on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense to move the ball. On the final four drives, the Panthers forced punts on three of them and a field goal on the fourth.
There wasn't a game that this team probably wanted to win more than this one. However, at the end of the day this is only one game and there is still a lot of football left. The team has matchups with Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers coming up the next three weeks. For now though, they can enjoy the facts that the critics have been silenced for at least one more week.