Grey Area: Seahawks have been kryptonite for Carolina’s ‘Superman’
The first step toward a second straight Super Bowl championship for the Seahawks starts with a battle versus Superman.
OK, that statement is not entirely true. In fact, that statement is not remotely true. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton does like to imitate Clark Kent by revealing the ‘S’ on his chest when he scores a touchdown, but that’s about all that’s super about the NFC South Division champion’s offense that is about to visit The Clink.
Cam Newton brings a Panthers team to town with a season record that, even if you include a wild-card playoff victory, features more non-wins than wins. They are the first team in NFL history to have a seven-week stretch without a win and still take a division title. It is also the same Panthers team that has failed to beat the Seahawks in each of the last three seasons, including this one. Not only that, but in those three contests the Seahawks outgained Newton and Co. 990 yards to 709 in total offense. Additionally, Newton’s QB rating of 70.6 against the Seahawks is his lowest against any team he’s played at least three times in his career. His rush totals, passing totals and completion percentage vs. the Seahawks are all lower than his career averages, as well. Not a lot of ‘super’ to be found.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that all three of those Carolina games against Seattle were on his home planet of (yes, I understand that I’m reaching here) North Carolina?
Cam Newton may need to be quite a bit more than Superman if he wants to reverse this trend Saturday against a Seahawks defense that is playing at the peak of its powers and coming off of a week’s rest. At CenturyLink Field. In January. With an entire season’s worth of expectations on the line. Under what promises to be a deafening assault by The 12s.
If the Panthers offense came up short in its first three tries in the friendly confines of Charlotte, what chance should it be given while making an attempt in SoDo?
Lest it seem that I am picking only on the Panthers and their recent failures vs. the Seahawks, keep in mind that there is NFL history at work against Carolina as well. Since the 1970 merger, a team with a .500 or lower regular-season record has advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs five times, and it lost each time – decisively. In 2004, the Vikings and Rams both advanced, only to be beaten by 13 and 30, respectively. The 2008 Chargers won an opening-round playoff game and then lost by 11 to the Steelers. From the Painful Memory Department, the 2010 Seahawks lost by the same 11-point margin to the Bears after beating New Orleans at home. And most recently, Tim Tebow and the 2011 Broncos defeated Pittsburgh in OT only to be outscored by 35 points in New England in the subsequent contest.
The bottom line is that Superman wouldn’t face these kinds of odds if Lex Luthor and General Zod pooled their resources and picked up some help from Mxyzptlk in the process.
It all shapes up to be a long, long day for Super Cam and the Panthers.