CHARLOTTE — The Seahawks came out hot and held on for a tense 30-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, giving them a franchise-record seven road wins this season and keeping them, at 11-3, in the hunt for the NFC West division title.
Three immediate impressions from Sunday’s game:
Revitalized passing attack
The biggest takeaway from this one has to be the return of the Seahawks’ potent passing attack.
After three consecutive so-so games, Russell Wilson had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the first half and finished with one of his most efficient performances of the season. He threw two first-half touchdowns — to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — helping the Seahawks build a 20-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Wilson was 20 for 26 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, with no turnovers.
His passer rating of 137.7 is his best since the Oct. 3 Thursday night victory over the Rams.
Just as important for the Seahawks offense was the return of a healthy Lockett, who had just five catches total in the previous three games as he recovered from a shin injury and illness.
Lockett finished with eight catches for 120 yards and that 19-yard TD catch early in the second quarter.
Against one of the worst run defenses in the league, Chris Carson also had a huge day.
He rushed 24 times for a career-high 133 yards and two touchdowns, and he had several key runs on the final drive that allowed the Seahawks to ice the clock and seal a must-have road victory.
How serious is Bobby Wagner’s injury?
A scary scene for the Seahawks — and all of Seattle, surely — in the fourth quarter when star middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was down on the field, flat on his back, with three trainers at his side.
Moments earlier, Wagner slipped on the grass and his right leg buckled awkwardly as he was blocked by Carolina receiver Jarius Wright.
Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson both walked from the sideline and past midfield to check on Wagner, who got up and walked back to the Seattle sideline on his own, gingerly.
A few minutes later, Wagner tested out his injured ankle, chatting with trainers, appearing as if he had escaped serious injury.
That, of course, would be welcome news for the Seahawks, especially considering the defense was already playing without four starters — Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah, Shaquill Griffin and Mychal Kendricks.
Then in the first half, starting free safety Quandre Diggs left the game with an ankle injury. He did not return. There was no immediate word on the extent of that injury, but how much more can this defense take?
It was a classic 2019 Seahawks game, wasn’t it? In other words, these guys can never make it easy on themselves.
After Wagner left the game, Carolina scored two touchdowns in less than two minutes — trimming the Seahawks’ 30-10 lead to 30-24 with 3:14 left.
Then the Seahawks, as they tried to chew up the final three minutes off the clock, were called for two holding penalties that negated first downs.
That set up a thrd-and-11 play from the Seattle 24-yard line. Wilson came through.
Wilson scrambled out of the pocket, away from pressure, and on the run found Lockett open in the middle of the field for a 14-yard gain to the 38-yard line with 2:12 remaining.
Lockett got up and celebrated with an emphatic first-down signal.