Around the NFL  

 

Cam Newton shines to put Seahawks in big trouble

Print

Cam Newton saved his best for last, and the Seahawks have to live with another blown fourth quarter lead in a 27-23 Panthers win in Seattle.

1. Newton has enjoyed some great moments in his young career. He helped beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football in 2013, and had a game-winning drive to win the NFC South that year. But we believe his back-to-back touchdown drives to steal this game in Seattle qualifies as the most impressive moment of his career. He delivered dart after dart with 162 yards in the fourth quarter, often slicing through tight coverage with heaters through the seams of the Seahawks' defense.

2. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman had some miscommunication on the game-winning 26-yard touchdown throw to Panthers tight end Greg Olsen with under 32 seconds left. They both appeared to believe that the other man would cover Olsen, and something went wrong.

The book is out on this great Seahawks secondary. You are going to beat this single high defense up the middle or you won't beat them at all. They are vulnerable to high-level tight ends. Thomas hasn't enjoyed his best season.

3. At 2-4, the Seahawks have some serious ground to make up, but they have a lot to build off offensively from this game. Marshawn Lynch looked like his old self despite only rushing for 54 yards, and Jimmy Graham easily had his best day in Seattle, showing off all his athleticism for 140 yards and a score. Note to Panthers: Stop trying to cover Graham with Roman Harper.

4. Newton struggled to throw the ball until late in the first half, but his ability to respond to key moments with a big touchdown drive was uncanny. When the Seahawks took a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter, Newton dialed up a terrific 80-yard touchdown drive. When the Seahawks took a two score lead in the fourth quarter, Newton led back-to-back long drives. These drives weren't cheap: All four scoring drives took 80 yards. Carolina's other nine drives totaled 63 yards combined.

5. Two unheralded defenders had big games. Defensive tackle Kawann Short has been the best Panthers defender this year not named Josh Norman. Short had two tackles for loss, two sacks and a key deflected pass. Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril was also dominant, even if it didn't show up in the box score. Both players deserve Pro Bowl consideration.

6. Ricardo Lockette had his biggest moment since you know when on a beautiful leaping touchdown on a flea flicker. He climbed up the back of safety Kurt Coleman to steal a potential interception.

7. As great as Newton and Greg Olsen have been, the Panthers need another receiver to step up. Rookie Devin Funchess had three ugly drops and only two catches.

Print