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January 10, 2015 at 8:34 PM

Seahawks 31, Panthers 17: First Impressions

Jerry Brewer: Carolina had the ideal game plan to beat the Seahawks. They controlled Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks’ running game for the most part. They forced the Seahawks’ maligned passing game to beat them. And their offense dominated the time of possession for huge chunks of the game, taking advantage of the Seahawks’ defensive aggressiveness and taking what they were given.​ In the end, though, it didn’t work. Russell Wilson and his receivers were brilliant. The defense forced three turnovers and played well when it needed to. It was a different kind of Seahawks win, and that kind of versatility should help them as they attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Larry Stone: For three quarters, it looked like the sort of down-to-the-wire, nerve-racking finish that has marked the recent series between these two teams. But the Seahawks took over in the fourth quarter — most notably Russell Wilson and Kam Chancellor, each of whom had their fingerprints all over this victory.

Bob Condotta: Seattle got back to its ball-hawking ways, forcing three turnovers while not giving up any. On a day when the Panthers appeared to have a nice plan to keep the Seattle defense off balance early, that proved critical.

Jayson Jenks: Quarterback Russell Wilson was excellent on third down: He completed eight of eight passes and threw three touchdowns, all of which came on third downs that were 6 yards or longer. The Seahawks didn’t have much of a running game, but Wilson made up for it with his arm.​

Matt Pentz: The margin for error is so incredibly thin against the Seahawks. The Panthers — quarterback Cam Newton in particular — came to play on Saturday night, never backing down and staying within striking range even into the fourth quarter. A few untimely Carolina penalties, some third-down Seattle conversions and one interception return later, the Seahawks were in cruise control. Seattle forces opponents to play flawlessly. And as game as the underdogs were, they weren’t perfect.

Ryan Divish: Doug Baldwin is angry. Paul Richardson is ailing. And Jermaine Kearse? Well, he continues to be awesome in the postseason. The Lakewood native and former UW standout set a career high with 129 yards receiving. His amazing 63-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was the Seahawks’ longest in postseason history. Kearse has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last three postseason games. It’s a trend that needs to continue for the Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl champions.



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