A sampling of national-media reaction after the Seahawks' 40-7 victory over the Panthers on Sunday night, a game in which Earl Thomas suffered a season-ending injury.
Earl Thomas’ return to the lineup was all too brief, and his exit put a major damper on an otherwise impressive win by the Seahawks on Sunday night.
Seattle rolled to a 40-7 victory over Carolina at CenturyLink Field but it was overshadowed by Thomas breaking his left leg on a freak collision with teammate Kam Chancellor while attempting to intercept a Cam Newton pass. It led to him hinting at retirement on Twitter, and the Seahawks having a defensive lapse on the next play. But Seattle righted itself and rolled from there, thanks to big contributions from Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett.
The Seahawks (8-3-1) maintained their hold on the No. 2 seed in the NFC, which would mean a first-round bye in the playoffs and FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Seahawks a 16 percent chance of reaching the Super Bowl.
As usual, the national media had plenty to say about the Seahawks, particularly with the immediate future looking in doubt with Thomas’ injury. Below is a sampling of reaction:
Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback said the Seahawks are a lock to win the NFC West and took note of the Newton touchdown pass following Thomas’ injury:
“I think football can be a cruel business, and it was Sunday night on the play after Earl Thomas was lost to a leg injury in the second quarter against Carolina. On third-and-17, with Thomas on the sideline trying to put some weight on a wounded leg, Cam Newton went hard after Thomas’ backup Steven Terrell. On Terrell’s first play in relief of Thomas, Newton threw a rainbow bomb over the head of Terrell to Ted Ginn Jr. for a touchdown. In a frustrating season for Newton, this was a highlight—a smart use of a bomb when you have no idea how long a star’s going to be out; but when he is, you want to take advantage. And Carolina did, for seven points.”
Sports Illustrated’s Eric Single wrote about the controversy that led to Newton’s benching:
“And aside from Newton’s 55-yard touchdown to Ted Ginn Jr. immediately after Thomas was carted off, the Panthers couldn’t crack the Seahawks’ shorthanded secondary. That might seem like a good sign for a Seattle stretch run without Thomas patrolling the middle of the field, but it’s dangerous to draw conclusions from a game that was arguably over after one offensive play—or after one offending sartorial choice.”
Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com said the Seahawks enjoyed the flashes Rawls and Lockett showed on Sunday night:
“But going into the final four games, Rawls and Lockett appear poised to be key cogs in a Seahawks offense that looks loaded with weapons in Wilson, wide receiver Doug Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham.”
NFL.com’s Jeremy Bergman thought the offense bounced back nicely on Sunday night:
“Seattle’s offense is coming into its own as the Seahawks begin their march toward a first-round bye. After the unit’s worst outing of the season against Tampa Bay, Seattle rolled through a Luke Kuechly-less Carolina defense for 534 yards, thanks to breakout nights from Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett. Rawls cut sharply through the Panthers‘ front and bounced off tackles on strong runs en route to a 106-yard, two-touchdown evening, his best performance since returning from injury in Week 11. Lockett was a force out of the backfield, playing the role of the C.J. Prosise and displaying his extraordinary speed on a 75-yard sweep to open the second half.”
Rodger Sherman of The Ringer listed the Seahawks as one of the losers of Week 13:
“I know, they beat the Panthers by 33. The Seahawks can be that good. But safety Earl Thomas got hurt, reportedly breaking his tibia, which is a really big and really bad bone to break. … When the Seahawks are healthy, they still seem like world-beaters. Except they haven’t been healthy much. They can’t lose Thomas, a beast who makes sure every opposing skill player feels some sort of intense pain when playing Seattle. He is vicious without being dirty, skilled yet brutal, and while he’s not as loud or famous as some of his teammates, he’s essential to the Seahawks’ hopes of being one of the best teams in the NFL.”
SportingNews.com’s David Steele said the loss of Thomas pretty much dims the Seahawks’ Super Bowl dreams:
“It was fun for a while to peer into the future and see the upstart Cowboys facing the tried-and-tested Seahawks with a Super Bowl berth on the line. Everything was heading in that direction as late as the first quarter of Sunday night’s game in Seattle. Until Earl Thomas got hurt.”
Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com wondered if a healthy Wilson is more important than a healthy Thomas:
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it — Thomas is a huge loss. But the Seahawks’ season would have been a lost cause weeks ago if Wilson continued to battle the ankle injury that confined him to the pocket for the first two months of the season. Consider this: Over the first 10 games, Wilson had 79 rushing yards — total — and averaged 2.0 yards per carry. Last week in a loss to the Buccaneers? Wilson had 80 yards on 10 carries.”
CBSSports.com’s John Breech gave the Seahawks an A for their performance:
“Although the Seahawks played their best game of the season, no one in Seattle’s locker room will be celebrating the win. During the first half, Seahawks defensive leader Earl Thomas broke a bone in his leg. Thomas’ injury is the type of loss that could leave the Seahawks’ defense in disarray.”