The offenses got wild in the fourth quarter, and so did the 12s
Miles Sanders got the ball into the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hawks 22, Cats 20. Time for a gut check for the Seahawks. Could they answer with another touchdown, or would they continue to pad Jason Myers's stats? It started off well with Deejay Dallas crushing another kickoff return to the Seattle 31.
Play began with Colby Parkinson staying in to block, then releasing to pick up 17 yards on an easy toss from Geno Smith. The fourth quarter continued the tight end show as Smith hit Fant for another 13 yards. In just two plays the Hawks had the ball at the Panthers 39-yard line. Seattle lined up in their four-back set again with Charbonnett taking the pitch from Smith for a four-yard gain.
I have to interject here, 12s: I love this formation. Smith lined up in shotgun with Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson lined up to his right, and Charbonnet three yards behind Geno. From here, Smith could hand off to the running back, who had two blockers in front of him. Or he could throw a screen, the tight ends fanning out on quick routes - it's a beautiful set. No, you can't run it very often, but there's much more flexibility and stability than the usual gadget play. In this case, it picked up four yards.
Charbonnet got the handoff on the next play and slashed through the middle for 11 yards and the first down. He took the handoff on the third straight play and picked up 11 more yards. Deion Jones was flagged for a personal foul at the end of the play, rightly so, and the Hawks had the ball at the Panthers seven. K-9 was back in the game and high-stepped into the end zone for an easy six. Seahawks 29, Panthers 20.
Carolina had plenty of time to answer, though, with almost 12 minutes left in the game. The Hawks got pressure on Dalton for the first two plays, but the veteran picked up the first with another strike to Thielen. On third and two, Dalton stepped up, ran through a huge gap in the pass rush, and picked up the first. On third and four, the 12s came through again to force another false start.
And...yes, for the second time in the game, the 12s forced back-to-back false starts to make it third and 14 all the way back to the Seattle 49. Oh, my bad. Pat yourselves on the back, 12s - we got the third straight false start penalty on the Panthers. That was on a punt. Yes, a false start on a PUNT. Deejay Dallas again rolled the dice and returned the punt for 16 yards. Does he know you can let the ball just go into the end zone? Clearly, he'd rather earn his paycheck. Man, what a baller.
The Seahawks ran the clock and the ball but on third and two settled for a little swing pass that picked up nothing. Michael Dickson saw some action for the first time since the very first series of the game, and the Panthers took the ball over at their own 32. Of course, Jerrick Reed dropped the returner in his tracks. I mean, who else, right? It wasn't a bone-jarring hit this time, but he got enough to drop him on his butt for no gain. The Hawks defense continued to apply pressure as Dalton quickly faced third and ten. An eight-yard pickup set up fourth and two. Carolina picked up the first, but an illegal shift called the play back. On fourth and seven, Jarran Reed wrapped up Dalton for an eight-yard sack. Turns out he can play nose tackle.
The Hawks took over at the Panthers 27 with 4:47 left. I never played professional ball, but I think that's what is known as good field position. On first down, Walker gave Seattle another first as he slashed up the gut for 10 yards. Walker picked up a couple of yards on the next play, and then it was back to Chaarbonnet. He cut around the left side, stiff-armed one defender, then sent safety Sam Franklin Jr. flying - literally flying, 12s - and went out of bounds at the two. By the way, Franklin is 6'3" and 210 pounds. This was not a 180-pound corner. It was rumored that Frankin landed in the 4th Avenue parking lot, but I cannot confirm this as of this moment.
On first and goal, Charbonnet couldn't duplicate his Herculean feat and was dropped for a loss of three. On second and goal, we got what we've wanted all season. Yes 12s, we got more Bobo! Jake Bobo got both toes down at the back of the end zone for the score. What the heck, I thought only Lockett made those catches. Oh, wait... it was still Lockett time. Up 35-20, the Hawks wanted to make this a three-score game. Um, okay, Pete, let's get nasty.
Realistically, it did make sense as there was still 4:17 left in the contest, and Dalton had already thrown for over 300 yards. Plus, why not practice your two-point game with so little actually on the line? Geno scrambled and scrambled and scrambled. Hey, we've seen this before, and it doesn't end well - at least not this play.
But this time, Smith made the play as Tyler Lockett got free in the end zone to make the catch. Lockett had a defender's hands right between his, but he's Tyler freaking Lockett. Yeah, it was just for two points, but Smith threw that strike from about five yards outside the right hashmark at his own 22-yard line to six yards deep in the left corner of the end zone. So tell me again how Geno Smith can't play football. Seattle 37, Carolina 20.
Dalton authored a methodical drive for the Panthers, and I can't say I was too thrilled with that. He found Adam Thielen in the end zone with 1:40 left to make the score Seattle 37, Carolina 27. They attempted an onside kick, and surprise surprise, Jake Bobo fielded the ball. No heroics were needed as the Hawks went into victory formation. That wrapped it up as Seattle won by 10, 37-27.
Permit me a few final thoughts on the game. Listen, I get it. The Seahawks are a family, and the guys all wanted to show Jason Myers that they believed in him. But it would have been nice to convert on a few third downs, right? I mean for Pete's sake, can we start converting, and stop the other team on third down? That being said, I don't think it should surprise anyone that the Panthers looked much better with the veteran Andy Dalton under center instead of rookie Bryce Young. And finally - really, finally - there were eight false starts penalties on the Panthers today. EIGHT. That is insane. Gameball to the 12s.