Coach Pete Carroll didn't emphasize the way his team started Sunday, but its finish.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Coach Pete Carroll didn’t emphasize the way his team started Sunday, but its finish.
That was true not only in terms of Carroll’s pregame emphasis, but in how his first-round draft pick, Bruce Irvin, played.
“The theme for today was about finishing on the road,” Carroll said. “We’ve had those two other games that we could have won but we didn’t. We needed to finish a road game and get it done.”
And it was Irvin who punctuated the victory, ending Carolina’s final possession before it really got going. The Panthers had the ball at their 31 with 53 seconds left, and on the second play of the drive, Irvin forced a fumble on a sack of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the Seahawks recovering and running out the clock.
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It was Irvin’s second sack in the game, giving him 4 ½ this season.
Irvin got off to a slow start in August, failing to record a sack in any of the first three exhibition games, but he’s gaining momentum as part of a defense that squelched two Carolina drives in the final four minutes.
“It was left up to us,” Irvin said, “and we had a big goal-line stand and we had another series where we came out and forced an end to the game. We’ve got an aggressive defense, and we look forward to situations like that.”
Left at the doorstep
Carolina ran four plays inside the Seattle 10 on the Panthers’ second-to-last possession, but the Seahawks twice snuffed the Panthers at the goal line in what turned out to be a game-saving stand.
On third-and-goal from the Seattle 6, cornerback Brandon Browner tackled receiver Louis Murphy at the Carolina 1, holding him out of the end zone after he caught a pass from Carolina quarterback Cam Newton.
That set up fourth-and-goal, and Seattle’s defense fully expected Newton to try to reach the end zone himself.
“We were expecting him to jump over the top,” Carroll said.
Instead, Newton dropped back and rolled right, giving him the option of running or passing.
“When he pulled out to throw the football it was like, ‘Hallelujah. We have a chance,’ ” Carroll said.
Newton’s initial read was to tight end Greg Olsen, and Newton waited before seeing Ben Hartsock open, but his pass skipped way out in front of his teammate.
“We had a guy open,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “The run-pass option worked in our favor and we had a guy wide open. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get it done.”
• Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini cost Seattle a 56-yard gain with his first-quarter holding penalty, and his reputation may have cost him a personal-foul penalty to end the period.
As Marshawn Lynch was being tackled on what turned out to be the final play of the half, Giacomini hit a Carolina opponent in play, knocking him out of bounds. Giacomini was called for the personal foul, which prompted Carroll to remove Giacomini.
“It sure seemed like the play was still alive,” Carroll said. “But we had to sit him down just to make the statement you can’t keep doing stuff.”
It was Giacomini’s third personal foul in the past five quarters of play. He was benched for the next series, replaced by Frank Omiyale before returning later in the second quarter.
Seattle was penalized seven times for 65 yards in the game.
• Carolina was penalized three times for 25 yards.
• WR Sidney Rice led Seattle with five catches for 67 yards.
• The only injury suffered was DT Clinton McDonald, who was limited by a sore groin.