RENTON, Wash. – For a change, the conversation about whether Russell Wilson was the best option at quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks was a bit muted on Monday.
Rightfully so after the performance the Seahawks defense turned in a day earlier in shutting down Cam Newton and Carolina.
And while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll felt the effort his defense put forth in Sunday’s 16-12 win could be the best since he took over in 2009, he also added this bit of caution.
“We’re just getting better. It feels like we are very, very early in the stages so hopefully we can keep going,” Carroll said.
Despite all the ways the Seahawks tried to give away Sunday’s game, the end result was their defense would not let it happen. Facing the Panthers’ unique offense, Seattle limited them to 190 total yards, a combined 2 of 15 on third and fourth downs and the worst day passing in Newton’s young career.
There were plenty of moments when the Seahawks defense shined on Sunday and cornerback Brandon Browner was often in the middle. It was Browner’s strip of DeAngelo Williams and subsequent fumble recovery in the third quarter that changed the momentum after Seattle turned the ball over three time, including Captain Munnerlyn’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Carolina a 10-6 lead.
Browner’s forced fumble led to Wilson’s touchdown pass to Golden Tate that gave the Seahawks a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter.
But the burly cornerback wasn’t done. He and Marcus Trufant combined to tackle Carolina’s Louis Murphy at the 1-yard line on third-and-goal with less than 4 minutes remaining when it appeared he would score easily and potentially give Carolina the lead. On fourth-and-goal, Newton rolled out of the pocket, but threw a pass intended for Ben Hartsock into the turf.
Overshadowed by the play of the Seahawks defense was Wilson’s best performance as Seattle’s starting QB. He completed 19 of 25 passes for 221 yards, but was intercepted twice. The throw that Munnerlyn intercepted was a poor decision and a poor throw, but the other interception was a ball that Marshawn Lynch should have caught.