O’Neil: Seahawks true to form with stress-filled win over Carolina
Well that was almost boring.
Blissfully, beautifully, blessedly boring.
The Seahawks never trailed Sunday at Carolina, scoring a touchdown on each of their first three possessions. And after Chris Carson scored on a 16-yard run on fourth-and-1 midway through the fourth quarter, Seattle led 30-10 and seemed in position for its most stress-free victory of the season.
But this is the Seahawks, whose resilience is matched only by their resolute refusal to put away an overmatched opponent, which is why they needed to overcome two holding penalties on their final drive so they could run out the clock, thereby preventing Carolina from having a chance to score a third touchdown in the final 5 minutes of the game.
Seattle 30, Carolina 24, but it shouldn’t have been that close. And for most of the game it wasn’t.
Carson rushed 24 times for 133 yards, and scored two touchdowns. Russell Wilson completed 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 286 yards and two touchdown passes, but his most important pass of the game came with just over two minutes left in the game. The Seahawks faced third-and-11 and stared straight at the prospect of giving the Panthers the ball and a chance to win with a touchdown and point-after conversion.
Never happened as Wilson dropped back, then scrambled to his right before throwing to Tyler Lockett for a 14-yard gain. Carson carried the ball on the next two plays, the second of which produced a first down that cinched the Seahawks’ franchise-record seventh road win of the season.
It shouldn’t have been that hard, but then again the 2019 Seattle Seahawks aren’t known for making anything easy. Not even games in which they have 13 points before the opponent gains a first down.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns and had 88 yards receiving, though, that was counterbalanced by Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen, who was intercepted three times by Seattle, two by K.J. Wright and one from Bobby Wagner.
Those turnovers should have been enough to seal a game that Seattle’s offense began so strongly. The Seahawks scored a touchdown each of their first three possessions. Every one of those drives spanned at least 75 yards. All included an explosive play, from Carson’s 23-yard run on third-and-1 on the opening possession to Wilson’s 44-yard pass to Lockett on the second drive to Josh Gordon’s absolutely incredible full-extension, finger-tip catch for 58 yards on the third possession.
Those were the kind of plays that were conspicuously absent from Seattle’s loss at the Los Angeles Rams last week when the Seahawks offense failed to score a touchdown for the first time since the season-opener in 2017.
For the next two quarters, Seattle politely declined each and every opportunity to put these five-win Panthers away. They let them hang around. And hang around. And even after Carson’s 16-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, they graciously allowed the Panthers to score touchdowns on back-to-back possessions, cutting a lead that was as large as 20 points in the fourth quarter down to six with 3:14 left in the game.
It’s the Seahawks. There has to be at least a little stress, right? That’s certainly been true this year along with an unprecedented amount of success on the road.