GAME: Seattle Seahawks (2-2, 3rd, NFC West) at Carolina Panthers (1-3, 2nd, NFC South). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 5. WHEN: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. MEETING: 5th (series tied 2-2). STREAKS: Seahawks L 1; Panthers L 2.HEAD COACHES: Ron Rivera, Carolina; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Carolina by 3. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
Prior to the Seahawks departure for the first of four East Coast road trips -- for a Sunday afternoon game where it hasn't played since 2007, when the Panthers won 13-10 -- coach Pete Carroll spent part of the week defending his decision to stick with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
In a loss at St. Louis the past Sunday, Wilson threw three interceptions last week, not all of which were his fault. But Wilson needs to pick up his production on third down and in the red zone.
Wilson has a 45.4 passer rating on third down and he's just 8-for-19 with a touchdown in the red zone. The Seahawks, whose 523 passing yards are the fewest in the league, rank last in the NFL in red zone TD efficiency at 27.3 percent.
"This is a very hard part of the game for all young quarterbacks, this red zone and third down," Carroll said. "That's where it gets most difficult and we need to get better in both."
Wilson said this week that he has been working in practice to correct his third-down deficiency.
“I’m watching my footwork and trying to get the ball out on time and making sure I deliver the ball to the right guy at the right time, and making sure all of the receivers are on the same page," Wilson said. "Our main focus is just capitalizing. Nothing is different on first and second down, we just have to capitalize on third down.
“I just have to make plays on third down. Sometimes it’s maybe my fault, or whatever it is. So now we’re just focusing on how we capitalize in those situations."
By contrast to Seattle, the only team in the NFL with more rushing yards (603) than passing yards, Carolina has reached the red zone a league-best 72.7 percent of the time and converted six of eight trips into touchdowns.
With Wilson limited due to his inexperience, the Seahawks are expected to throw a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch at the Panthers, and this stat suggests why: Lynch has gained an NFL-high 199 yards after contact this season, and the Panthers have allowed the most yards after contact per rush in the league (2.7).
"I think the key for us is how we play on the road," said Wilson. "We have to come out and play a great game from start to finish and that has got to be our focus.”
Wilson absorbed criticism following his play in St. Louis, but Carolina coach Ron Rivera this week supported the manner in which Pete Carroll is using his rookie.
“There are a lot of highs and there are a lot of lows (using a rookie quarterback)," Rivera said. "They have a guy in Russell Wilson that we like; we think he is a heck of a football player enough that we brought him into our interview room at the combine. We had to take a look at him just to look, and I think he is a heck of a football player.
"I think it’s just a matter of time before everything comes together for them. They have a terrific running game, terrific receivers, and I like their tight end combination. Their offensive line seems to protect him and give him opportunities to throw the ball down field. They got the right type of formula it seems. Our formula with a rookie quarterback (Cam Newton last year) was protecting him with the offensive line and put play makers around him, and that’s what Seattle has done.”
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 8, 2000, when the Panthers defeated the Seahawks 26-3 in Charlotte. The Seahawks scored their first win over Carolina in 2004 and also won the last meeting, Dec. 5, 2010 when Marshawn Lynch ran for 83 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-14 victory at then-Qwest Field. The Seahawks and Panthers have faced each other once in the postseason, the Seahawks winning 34-14 in the 2005 NFC Championship Game.
LAST MEETING (Seahawks 31, Panthers 14): Lynch scored on runs of 1, 1, and 22 yards, Lofa Tatupu returned an interception 26 yards for a TD and Olindo Mare kicked a 24-yard field goal. The Seahawks accumulated 371 yards to Carolina's 283.
Seahawks: 2-2-0, 3rd, NFC West; scored 70 points (17.5 per game), ranking 28th; allowed 58 points (14.5 per game), 2nd; differential of +12 points ranks 12th. Panthers: 1-3-0, 2nd, NFC South; scored 80 points (20.0), ranked 25th; allowed 109 (27.2), 22nd; differential of -29 points ranks 27th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (49-51-0 career, 16-20-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson -- at Arizona -- 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas -- 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay -- 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis -- 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating . . . Matt Flynn -- at Arizona, DNP; vs. Dallas, DNP; vs. Green Bay, DNP; at St. Louis, DNP.SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 2-2. Home: 2-0. Road: 0-2. Vs. NFC: 2-2. Vs. AFC: 0-0. Vs. NFC East: 1-0. Vs. NFC North: 1-0. Vs. NFC South: 0-0. Vs. NFC West: 0-2. Points For: 70 (17.5). Points Against: 58 (14.5).
- NFL RANKS: Scoring Offense --19.0 (T26); Total Offense -- 269 (29th); Rushing Offense -- 141.3 (6th); Passing Offense -- 127.0 (32nd); Scoring Defense -- 13.0 (1st); Total Defense -- 272.3 (4th); Rushing Defense -- 58.7 (2nd); Passing Defense -- 213.7 (10th).
- INJURY REPORT: Out -- OT Jaye Howard (foot), OG John Moffitt (knee). Questionable -- CB Marcus Trufant (back). Probable -- RB Marshawn Lynch (rest), DT Brandon Mebane (calf).
- Heading into Week 5, Marshawn Lynch is the NFL's leading rusher, averaging 105.8 yards per game. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of his last 13 games.
- Russell Wilson's 73.5 passer rating ranks 27th in the NFL and his 149.0 yards per game ranks 32nd (last).
- Leon Washington averages 37.7 yards on kickoff returns, second in the NFL to Percy Harvin of Minnesota (38.3).
- Chris Clemons is ranked T3 in the NFL with 5.0 sacks.
- OG John Moffitt missed the Rams game with a sore knee and is not expected to return for the Panthers game. Paul McQuistan started in Moffitt's spot at right guard with James Carpenter starting at left guard.
- 12th Man Flag Raisers: Tennessee -- Steve August; Oakland -- 2012 area Summer Olympians; Dallas -- Shawn Springs; Green Bay -- Trent Dilfer.
|Total Yards||1126||27||Total Yards||1495||13|
|Yards / Game||281.5||27||Yards / Game||373.8||13|
|Rush Yards||603||6||Rush Yards||488||11|
|Rush / Game||150.8||6||Rush / Game||122.0||11|
|Pass Yards||523||32||Pass Yards||1007||12|
|Pass / Game||130.8||32||Pass / Game||251.8||12|
|Points / Game||17.5||27||Points / Game||20.0||25|
|Total Yards||1103||4||Total Yards||1575||24|
|Yards / Game||275.8||4||Yards / Game||393.8||24|
|Rush / Allw.||251||2||Rush / Allw.||535||25|
|Rush / Game||62.8||2||Rush / Game||131.8||25|
|Pass Allw.||852||T10||Pass Allw.||1036||22|
|Pass / Game||213.0||T10||Pass / Game||259.0||22|
|Points Allw.||58||2||Points Allw.||109||T22|
|Points / Game||14.5||2||Points / Game||27.3||T22|
|Tackles||Wright 30, Chancellor 28, Wagner 22|
|Sacks||Clemons 5.0, Irvin 2.5, Mebane 2.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 7, Irvin 5, Branch 4, Mebane 3|
|Interceptions||Sherman 2, Browner 1|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 6, Clemons 3, 3 with 2|
|Forced Fumbles||Robinson , Clemons, Thomas, Wright, 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Mebane, 1|
PANTHERS QUARTERBACKS: Cam Newton has completed 68 of 107 passes for 1,013 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 87.5. Newton threw for a season-high 303 yards at Tampa Bay Sept. 9. He threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions last week in a 30-28 loss to Atlanta.
RAMS HEAD COACH: Ron Rivera (7-13-0) is in his second year as head coach of the Panthers. His 2011 team finished 6-10. Rivera began his NFL coaching career in 1999 as linebackers coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. He served as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears from 2004-06 and was linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2007-10.
KEY DATES: Nov. 18 -- Seahawks bye week; Jan. 5-6, 2013 -- Wild card weekend; Jan. 12-13 -- Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 -- Conference championships; Jan. 27 -- Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 -- Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 -- NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 -- NFL draft.TRANSACTIONS
- Aug. 26: Waived LB Jameson Konz, DE Pep Levingston, DB Roy Lewis, TE Cameron Morrah, WR Phil Bates, OT Edawn Coughman, CB Donny Lisowski, CB Ron Parker, RB Tyrell Sutton, OT Alex Barron, OG Deuce Lutui, WR Terrell Owens.
- Aug. 27: Traded LB Barrett Ruud to New Orleans to for an undisclosed future draft pick; waived DE Dexter Davis and re-signed CB Denny Lisowski, an undrafted rookie free agent from Montana who attended O'Dea High; traded QB Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo for an undisclosed future draft choice.
- Aug. 31: Waived/released CB Phillip Adams, DE Pierre Allen, LB Allen Bradford, WR Deon Butler, WR Kris Durham, G Paul Fanaika, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Jermaine Kearse, LB Kyle Knox, DE Cordarro Law, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, C Kris O’Dowd, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer, WR Lavasier Tuinei, TE Cooper Helfet, RB Vai Taua.
- Sept. 1: Released TE Kellen Winslow; signed to practice squad LB Allen Bradford, G Rishaw Johnson, WR Ricardo Lockette, TE Sean McGrath, QB Josh Portis, S DeShawn Shead, LB Korey Toomer.
- Sept. 3: Signed to practice squad T/DT Edawn Coughman, WR Jermaine Kearse; signed TE Evan Moore.
- Sept. 13: Released G Rishaw Johnson and LB Korey Toomer from the practice squad and signed LB Allen Bradford and OT Mike Person in their places.
- Oct. 1: Released OG Allen Barbre as soon as he came off the suspended list for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
|Arizona||4-1||1-1||Oct. 14 vs. Buffalo|
|S. Francisco||3-1||0-0||Sunday vs. Buffalo|
|St. Louis||3-2||2-0||Oct. 14 at Miami|
|Seattle||2-2||0-2||Sunday at Carolina|
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||---||---||---|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||---||---||---|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||---||---||---|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||--|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||---||---||---|