Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has a passer rating of 45.3 on third down, just one reason for the clamor to start Matt Flynn instead of the Wisconsin rookie.
GAME: Seattle Seahawks (2-2, 3rd, NFC West) at Carolina Panthers (1-3, 2nd, NFC South). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 5. WHEN: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. MEETING: 5th (series tied 2-2). STREAKS: Seahawks L 1; Panthers L 2. HEAD COACHES: Ron Rivera, Carolina; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Carolina by 3. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
Prior to the Seahawks departure for the first of four East Coast road trips — for a Sunday afternoon game where it hasn’t played since 2007, when the Panthers won 13-10 — coach Pete Carroll spent part of the week defending his decision to stick with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
In a loss at St. Louis the past Sunday, Wilson threw three interceptions last week, not all of which were his fault. But Wilson needs to pick up his production on third down and in the red zone.
Wilson has a 45.4 passer rating on third down and he’s just 8-for-19 with a touchdown in the red zone. The Seahawks, whose 523 passing yards are the fewest in the league, rank last in the NFL in red zone TD efficiency at 27.3 percent.
“This is a very hard part of the game for all young quarterbacks, this red zone and third down,” Carroll said. “That’s where it gets most difficult and we need to get better in both.”
Wilson said this week that he has been working in practice to correct his third-down deficiency.
Im watching my footwork and trying to get the ball out on time and making sure I deliver the ball to the right guy at the right time, and making sure all of the receivers are on the same page,” Wilson said. “Our main focus is just capitalizing. Nothing is different on first and second down, we just have to capitalize on third down.
I just have to make plays on third down. Sometimes its maybe my fault, or whatever it is. So now were just focusing on how we capitalize in those situations.”
By contrast to Seattle, the only team in the NFL with more rushing yards (603) than passing yards, Carolina has reached the red zone a league-best 72.7 percent of the time and converted six of eight trips into touchdowns.
With Wilson limited due to his inexperience, the Seahawks are expected to throw a heavy dose of Marshawn Lynch at the Panthers, and this stat suggests why: Lynch has gained an NFL-high 199 yards after contact this season, and the Panthers have allowed the most yards after contact per rush in the league (2.7).
“I think the key for us is how we play on the road,” said Wilson. “We have to come out and play a great game from start to finish and that has got to be our focus.
Wilson absorbed criticism following his play in St. Louis, but Carolina coach Ron Rivera this week supported the manner in which Pete Carroll is using his rookie.
There are a lot of highs and there are a lot of lows (using a rookie quarterback),” Rivera said. “They have a guy in Russell Wilson that we like; we think he is a heck of a football player enough that we brought him into our interview room at the combine. We had to take a look at him just to look, and I think he is a heck of a football player.
“I think its just a matter of time before everything comes together for them. They have a terrific running game, terrific receivers, and I like their tight end combination. Their offensive line seems to protect him and give him opportunities to throw the ball down field. They got the right type of formula it seems. Our formula with a rookie quarterback (Cam Newton last year) was protecting him with the offensive line and put play makers around him, and thats what Seattle has done.
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 8, 2000, when the Panthers defeated the Seahawks 26-3 in Charlotte. The Seahawks scored their first win over Carolina in 2004 and also won the last meeting, Dec. 5, 2010 when Marshawn Lynch ran for 83 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-14 victory at then-Qwest Field. The Seahawks and Panthers have faced each other once in the postseason, the Seahawks winning 34-14 in the 2005 NFC Championship Game.
LAST MEETING (Seahawks 31, Panthers 14): Lynch scored on runs of 1, 1, and 22 yards, Lofa Tatupu returned an interception 26 yards for a TD and Olindo Mare kicked a 24-yard field goal. The Seahawks accumulated 371 yards to Carolina’s 283.
Seahawks: 2-2-0, 3rd, NFC West; scored 70 points (17.5 per game), ranking 28th; allowed 58 points (14.5 per game), 2nd; differential of +12 points ranks 12th. Panthers: 1-3-0, 2nd, NFC South; scored 80 points (20.0), ranked 25th; allowed 109 (27.2), 22nd; differential of -29 points ranks 27th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (49-51-0 career, 16-20-0 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson — at Arizona — 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas — 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay — 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis — 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating . . . Matt Flynn — at Arizona, DNP; vs. Dallas, DNP; vs. Green Bay, DNP; at St. Louis, DNP.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||1126||27||Total Yards||1495||13|
|Yards / Game||281.5||27||Yards / Game||373.8||13|
|Rush Yards||603||6||Rush Yards||488||11|
|Rush / Game||150.8||6||Rush / Game||122.0||11|
|Pass Yards||523||32||Pass Yards||1007||12|
|Pass / Game||130.8||32||Pass / Game||251.8||12|
|Points / Game||17.5||27||Points / Game||20.0||25|
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||1103||4||Total Yards||1575||24|
|Yards / Game||275.8||4||Yards / Game||393.8||24|
|Rush / Allw.||251||2||Rush / Allw.||535||25|
|Rush / Game||62.8||2||Rush / Game||131.8||25|
|Pass Allw.||852||T10||Pass Allw.||1036||22|
|Pass / Game||213.0||T10||Pass / Game||259.0||22|
|Points Allw.||58||2||Points Allw.||109||T22|
|Points / Game||14.5||2||Points / Game||27.3||T22|
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wright 30, Chancellor 28, Wagner 22|
|Sacks||Clemons 5.0, Irvin 2.5, Mebane 2.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 7, Irvin 5, Branch 4, Mebane 3|
|Interceptions||Sherman 2, Browner 1|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 6, Clemons 3, 3 with 2|
|Forced Fumbles||Robinson , Clemons, Thomas, Wright, 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Mebane, 1|
PANTHERS NOTES: Panthers opened with a 16-10 loss at Tampa Bay, defeated New Orleans 35-27, lost to the Giants 36-7 and lost to Atlanta 30-28 . . . RB DeAngelo Williams and QB Cam Newton both have 147 rushing yards. Williams has yet to score a TD, but Newton has two . . . Panthers roster includes Lacey, WA., native Jonathan Stewart, who attended Oregon. Stewart has played in only two games, gaining 91 yards with no TDs . . . Panthers DE Charles Johnson set a franchise record with 3.5 sacks last week against Atlanta. Carolina had seven . . . Ricky Proehl, a wide receiver for the Seahawks in 1995-96, is an assistant wide receivers coach for the Panthers.
PANTHERS QUARTERBACKS: Cam Newton has completed 68 of 107 passes for 1,013 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 87.5. Newton threw for a season-high 303 yards at Tampa Bay Sept. 9. He threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions last week in a 30-28 loss to Atlanta.
RAMS HEAD COACH: Ron Rivera (7-13-0) is in his second year as head coach of the Panthers. His 2011 team finished 6-10. Rivera began his NFL coaching career in 1999 as linebackers coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. He served as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears from 2004-06 and was linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2007-10.
KEY DATES: Nov. 18 — Seahawks bye week; Jan. 5-6, 2013 — Wild card weekend; Jan. 12-13 — Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|Arizona||4-1||1-1||Oct. 14 vs. Buffalo|
|S. Francisco||3-1||0-0||Sunday vs. Buffalo|
|St. Louis||3-2||2-0||Oct. 14 at Miami|
|Seattle||2-2||0-2||Sunday at Carolina|
COMING UP: Seahawks return to CenturyLink Field Oct. 14 to host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||—||—||—|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||—||—||—|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||—||—||—|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
* in Toronto
2012 Seahawks Capsules
Aug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) — Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton’s 48 yards on three carries.
Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) — Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.
Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.
Sept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona’s red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.
Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.
Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson’s pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn’t called. Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.
Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown,Seahawks, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.