They did so 10 days ago against Green Bay, taking the lead late and then holding off the Packers. And they did so even more impressively Sunday, a walk-off 30-27 victory over a Carolina Panthers team that had won 10 in a row at home.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Presented with the daunting specter of strong safety Eric Reid standing between him and daylight, Seahawks running back Chris Carson did something he says was wholly instinctual. And totally mind-boggling.

Carson leapt over the top of Reid. And did a complete flip as he was jostled. And landed on his feet, though now facing backward. And then kept pushing forward for more turf.

“I don’t even know what I was thinking when I was in the air, to be honest,” Carson said. “But I’m glad I stuck that landing.”

And there you have a metaphor for the Seahawks, both within this predictably hard-fought game and for this season of ever-growing hope.


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Where once the Seahawks wobbled and fell, where early setbacks and adversity had tripped them up, where close games slipped away in agonizing fashion, now they’re sticking the landing.

And in the process, they hope, turning that mindset into an instinct.

They did so 10 days ago against Green Bay, taking the lead late and then holding off the Packers. And they did so even more impressively Sunday, a walk-off 30-27 victory over a Carolina Panthers team that had won 10 in a row at home.

You want to talk about sticking the landing? The Seahawks overcame four separate Panthers’ leads, eventually tied the game on a long fourth-down pass from Russell Wilson to David Moore with 3:26 to play, and then won it on Sebastian Janikowski’s 31-yard field goal with no time left.

Suddenly, the Seahawks are doing what became their calling card in the Super Bowl glory days: Pulling out games in the end, even when it seemed improbable or flat-out impossible.

If that trend indeed continues – and the Seahawks believe they’re learning how to win with each passing week — it bodes well for the final five games.

“We’re just in finish mode,’’ said center Justin Britt, one of six Seahawks left with Super Bowl experience. “We understand the situation. We’re in playoff mode right now. Fighting for our lives to get in the playoffs. Today was a really good start toward the fourth quarter of the season.”

The Seahawks allowed a season-high 476 yards to the Panthers, and somehow failed to come up with any of the five fumbles they forced, which falls somewhere between incongruous and unfathomable.

But throughout the game, they made a series of red-zone stops that turned touchdowns into either field goals or turnover on downs. Safety Bradley McDougald made a game-saving interception in the end zone that was as freakishly athletic in its own way as Carson’s leap.

And when Graham Gano missed a potential go-ahead 52-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining, the Seahawks sensed they would find a way finish the game off. Which they did, boosted by Wilson’s 43-yard pass to Tyler Lockett that put them at the 10.

Carson said the team’s reaction to the Gano miss was simple: “We’re about to win. That’s the only thing we were thinking, we’re about to win.”

Defensive end Frank Clark added, “I knew we were going to win the game probably at like the eight-minute mark.”

It’s one thing to think it, another to do it. In losing to Denver by three points, the Bears by seven, the Rams by two and five, and the Chargers by eight, the Seahawks had junctures in every one of those defeats where they had a chance to pull it out. But they botched the landing.

“We just needed to really, really experience it,’’ said Britt. “We experienced it a week ago, and now that we’ve felt it, we know what it’s like. All we need is the opportunity to win the game, like we did today, and we have zero doubt in what we’re going to do.”

To Wilson, it comes down to that belief, to facing the brink with a fearless attitude – and that’s an inner-confidence that grows with success.

“I think early in the year, we kind of struggled with that,’’ veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “There were a lot of close games we should have pulled out. That’s being young and us having to figure out how to win. I definitely feel like we’re doing that.”

In a season of vast personnel turnover for the Seahawks, that’s particularly true for the younger players who have been thrust into key roles. Players such as Moore, who had a 54-yard reception in addition to his touchdown, and cornerback Tre Flowers, whose third-down tackle of D.J. Moore thwarted Carolina’s drive toward a go-ahead touchdown.

“A lot of it is learning, a lot of it is belief,’’ Wagner said. “The older guys have been here and seen some very, very crazy things happen. It’s one thing to try to tell the young guys that, and it’s another thing for them to experience it.

“I think as they’ve experience it, they grow from it. Now we have our knowledge mixed with their experience, and you see us pulling the game out.”

McDougald added wryly, “I definitely feel we’re learning how to finish, but I want us to learn how to start now. If we can just learn how to start the game stronger, we’ll be even more dominant, because I feel like each game, as the game goes on, we get stronger. As the game goes on, we get better. We hone in on how they’re attacking us, we figure it out and shut it down. We just need to figure it out coming out initially.”

Right now, those are good problems to have, a winner’s lament, the perfectionist tendency of a team suddenly oozing confidence.

“It’s high. It should be high,’’ said Wagner.

“I think everyone sees it, not only in this place, but also outside of us,’’ said Lockett.

Coach Pete Carroll still laments the games that got away from Seattle, particularly the first two, before the Seahawks locked into their run-first mentality. But he also is thrilled by the way their fortunes have turned.

“The margin early, those first couple of games, the games we gave away, the margin, the experience, the right choice at the right time could have made a difference for sure,’’ Carroll said. “But we kind of had to struggle through that a little.”

And now, the Seahawks’ rugged schedule eases a bit down the stretch, with four of the last five games at home and three against teams having miserable seasons. Wilson says they’ve became a team in the image of one of his heroes, Michael Jordan, in that they want the ball at the end with the game on the line.

“We’ve got a long way to go,’’ Carroll cautioned. “But we’re alive.”