After 15 minutes of play against the one-win Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks had run just eight offensive plays. After 30 minutes, Seattle had managed three points.
The following nine minutes to start the second half? Twenty-one points, as Seattle erased an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat the visiting Panthers 31-14.
Starting the third quarter with the ball on their own four-yard line, Seattle (6-6) rode a 26-yard reception by tight end Cameron Morrah and a 31-yard run by Justin Forsett en route to the team’s first touchdown of the game. The drive, covering 96 yards in nine plays, was capped off by Marshawn Lynch’s first of three scores in the game.
Carolina (1-11) would hold onto the ball for three plays before Seattle was in the end zone again. Facing third-and-one from the his own 27-yard line, Jimmy Clausen attempted to connect with second-year fullback Tony Fiammetta, but found linebacker Lofa Tatupu instead. Racing 26 yards down the field into the end zone, Tatupu gave Seattle a two-point lead prior to Olindo Mare’s extra point that lengthened the advantage to 17-14.
Failing to prolong its ensuing drive, Carolina was forced to punt. Bringing the football in at the Seattle 14-yard line, Leon Washington returned the kick 84 yards before the Panthers’ punter, Jason Baker, tripped the first-year Seahawk up.
Two plays later, Marshawn Lynch was at it again, taking the football up the middle for a one-yard score. An Olindo Mare extra point with a little over six minutes to go in the third quarter gave Seattle 24 unanswered points and a 24-14 advantage.
By the end of the game, Lynch accounted for 97 total yards of offense and three rushing touchdowns. It was the first time in the running back’s four-year professional career that he scored three times in a single contest.
With the win, Seattle remains atop the NFC West standings with the St. Louis Rams, who also won Sunday.
Prior to halftime, it appeared that Seattle was bound for defeat. Behind a ground game of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson, the Panthers had 93 rushing yards, two touchdowns and an 11-point lead.
Goodson scored on the game’s first possession, taking a six-yard run into the end zone.
Returning to the Pacific Northwest for the first time as a professional, Stewart scored on a three-yard run with 8:09 remaining in the second quarter. The Fort Lewis, Wash. and Timberline High School product finished the day with92 yards on 21 carries and the touchdown.
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