Patrick Lewis started and played the entire way at center in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers in place of Drew Nowak, the first change the Seahawks have made to the starting line all season.

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While Seattle coaches spent the week praising the improved play of the offensive line in the wake of the Cincinnati game, they also constantly preach that every spot is open to competition.

As a result, Patrick Lewis started and played the entire way at center in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers in place of Drew Nowak, the first change the Seahawks have made to the starting line all season.

It might have seemed strange coming after Seattle rushed for a season-high 200 yards, a performance coach Pete Carroll said appeared to be getting the team on track to regaining its old identity.

But Carroll said Lewis had shown enough to prove he should get a shot to play.


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“Really, just for the sake of competition, we thought that Patrick deserved a chance to show what he can do,” Carroll said of Lewis, a second-year player who started four games last season in place of an injured Max Unger.

Lynch returns and sets career mark

Marshawn Lynch returned to the lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

And while he had a tough day, gaining 54 yards on 17 carries, he scored his first touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the second quarter which also was the 55th of his Seattle career. That tied him with Curt Warner for second on the team’s all-time rushing-touchdown list, behind the 100 scored by Shaun Alexander.

“I thought he battled his tail off,’’ Carroll said of Lynch. “He didn’t get a lot of space. Every run that he gave, he gave everything he had. I thought he was running with the same kind of ferocity that he always does, he just didn’t get many opportunities to get in the clear.”

Lockette makes most of chance

Ricardo Lockette knew all week the play might be coming — a double-pass trick play in which he would be the intended receiver.

“Yeah, I knew it was in this week,” Lockette said.

When the call came, he said he was determined not to let the moment, well, pass. And he made the most of it, catching a 40-yard pass from Russell Wilson for a touchdown in the third quarter, though only after Wilson pitched it to Lynch who then threw it back to Wilson (though backward so as not to be a forward pass).

Lockette made the grab by reaching over Carolina safety Kurt Coleman in the end zone.

“In my mind I just said ‘I know I’m going to catch it,’ ’’ Lockette said. “And I’m looking at him (Coleman) the whole time as I’m running and once I saw him break down, that’s when I shifted into the next gear and into the end zone.

“I saw the ball in the air and it doesn’t really come my way a lot, so I try to take advantage of every opportunity I get.’’

Lockette now has three catches on the season; the touchdown was the fourth of his career.


• Former Husky Shaq Thompson waited until the end to make a real presence in his homecoming, landing a hard shot on Seattle kickoff returner Tyler Lockett after the Panthers scored to take a 27-23 lead.

The tackle pinned the Seahawks at their own 9-yard line with 32 seconds left and was credited by some later as all but cementing the win.

Thompson suffered a knee injury on the play, but it was unclear if it was serious. Thompson told reporters that he sprained his left knee but didn’t think it was bad.

For the Seahawks, though, the play was emblematic of a day when they didn’t get a lot out of their return games, starting at their own 10 and 9 after two kickoff returns and with Lockett held to 28 yards on four punt returns.

• The Panthers were awakened by a fire alarm at their Seattle hotel at 5:40 a.m. Sunday, something that did not please the players or coach Ron Rivera. Rivera said that “somehow there was a malfunction’’ with the fire alarm. “We will let the league and the hotel take care of it.’’ He downplayed its impact on anything, saying, “I really don’t think it mattered.’’

• The Seahawks played without middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was held out after suffering a pectoral-muscle injury at Cincinnati. That had K.J. Wright playing middle linebacker and Kevin Pierre-Louis at weakside.

“Absolutely we miss him,’’ Carroll said. “But that’s not the point for us. Next guy steps up.”

Carroll said Wagner could have played, but the team decided to play it safe knowing there is another game on tap Thursday at San Francisco.

Tight-ends comparison
Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham and Panthers’ Greg Olsen had similar stats, except for Olsen’s late TD catch:
Graham Statistic Olsen
12 Targets 11
8 Receptions 7
140 Yards 131
17.5 Average 18.7
45 Long 32
0 TDs 1