The Seattle Seahawks wrote the book on “How to Win a Sloppy Game” on Sunday, but at this point in the season, they’ll take it.
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Neither the Seahawks nor the Carolina Panthers scored a touchdown until there was less than a minute left in the game, but the Seahawks ultimately escaped Charlotte with a 13-9 win to improve to 4-3 and avoid falling under .500 for the first time since Week 16 of the 2011 season.
But watching this game was hard from the very first play of the contest.
Neither team looked comfortable and neither team looked like they wanted to win this game — they looked like they were both trying to help their opposition come away with the victory.
For the first three quarters of the game, the kickers did all of the scoring.
The Panthers got on the board in the first quarter when Graham Gano hit a 31-yard field goal to give Carolina a 3-0 lead, following a 3-and-out by the Seahawks offense.
In the second quarter, Carolina doubled their lead with Gano’s second field goal, this one a 26-yarder, to make it a 6-0 game.
But Steven Hauschka and the Seahawks answered right back with a 58-yard three-pointer of their own, a kick which was Hauschka’s longest of the season.
Oct 26, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) runs after catching a pass during the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
After the Panthers fumbled the ball, the Seahawks recovered and drove 77 yards before Wilson threw an interception in the red zone that stalled the drive with seconds left in the half.
Though the Seahawks had a chance to score a touchdown on their final first half drive, the interception made it a 6-3 Panthers lead heading into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Seahawks tied the game at 6-6 with a 29-yard field goal, but they had numerous chances to get into the endzone and couldn’t finish off the drive.
They had a total of 12 plays in Carolina’s territory but Wilson missed a wide open Cooper Helfet at the goal line on one play, Luke Willson dropped a ball at the goalline on another, and the Seahawks fumbled the ball twice on the drive.
Seattle put together another long drive on their next possession, but fumbled the ball at Carolina’s 21-yard line to surrender another scoring chance and provide another missed opportunity to review this week on film.
On their first play of the drive, Michael Bennett smashed through the offensive line and wrapped up Newton in the end zone for what appeared to be a sure-thing safety, but Newton escaped to keep the game tied at 6-6 and give the Panthers new life.
That play brought the momentum back to the Carolina sideline, but Seattle’s defense stepped up and forced a long field goal to keep their team in it.
Gano hit a 46-yarder to give the Panthers a 9-6 lead with 4:37 left in regulation.
Seattle used the next four minutes to orchestrate a counter-drive that ended when Wilson hit Willson on the run into the endzone on a 23-yard play that gave the Seahawks a 13-9 lead with 0:47 left in the game.
The play also gave Seattle the win.
The Seahawks outplayed the Panthers statistically, with more total yards (310-266), more first downs (19-17), and more yards per play (5.3-4.8).
Both teams had two turnovers and the Seahawks had seven penalties go 41 yards against them. The Panthers had four penalties for 20 yards.
The win kept the Seahawks season alive and though I don’t mean that to seem dramatic, they seriously needed a win to keep up in the NFC West.
At 4-3, the Seahawks must now prepare to take on the Oakland Raiders (0-6) at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
The way Seattle has been playing, that’s no easy win.
Because of the San Francisco 49ers (4-3) bye week, the Seahawks and Niners are in a tie for second place in the NFC West.