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Cam Newton: 'Lots of players with their butts tight'


Thirty-one points in the first half. Zero in the second.

The Carolina Panthers walked away from Sunday's 31-24 divisional-round playoff win over the Seahawks less than pleased with their performance down the stretch.

"The biggest disappointment was I really didn't want to play the game the way we did in the second half," Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "I wanted to be more aggressive, I wanted to just continue to try and attack, but we got into protect mode, which I'm a little disappointed about."

After a dominant first half that saw the Panthers intercept Russell Wilson twice and pound Seattle on both sides of the ball, the Seahawks dug into their bag of tricks to pile up 24 unanswered points, echoing previous games this season that saw the Colts, Packers and Giants storm back against Carolina.

"There were lots of players with their butts tight," quarterback Cam Newton said. "Coaches with their butts tight. Fans with their butts tight. But we kept playing."

The Panthers did enough to fend off the loss, but it was concerning to see Carolina give up chunk plays through the air over the final two quarters. After churning out 213 yards to just 17 for Seattle at one point during the first half, the Panthers were outgained 386 yards to 82 the rest of the way.

"If we could have just skipped right on over halftime and just kept playing, I think we might have been in much better shape," said Rivera, while noting: "We have to be able to sustain for four quarters. We can't relax, we have to continue to attack."

Luke Kuechly put the Panthers up 14-0 with his pick six of Wilson on Seattle's first drive, but the All-Pro linebacker acknowledged after the game that Sunday's film will provide pointers for next week's NFC title tilt with the Cardinals.

"We'll learn from this," Kuechly told NFL Media's Tiffany Blackmon. "And we hope to put our best foot forward."


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