3 Up, 3 Down: Winners, Losers From Seahawks Week 15 Victory vs. Panthers
Following a 30-24 victory over Carolina, Seattle improved to 7-1 on the road for the first time in franchise history. By earning their 11th win, the Seahawks also overtook the 49ers in the NFC West and moved to the top seed in the conference.
Aside from the final two minutes of the game, where their team allowed 14 unanswered points, the Seahawks controlled the majority of this matchup against the under-performing Panthers. Seattle’s offense produced touchdowns on their first three drives of the game, which hadn’t been accomplished since the 2015 season.
While this wasn’t a complete team victory like coach Pete Carroll was hoping for, Seattle’s offense was able to rebound from their forgettable performance in Los Angeles. In addition, Carroll also recorded his 100th career victory at the helm, which should make the 68-year old extremely cheerful on the flight back to Seattle.
Let's dive into our three big winners and three losers from Week 15.
Turnovers played a major factor in the Seahawks’ 11th victory of the season. Seattle’s defense generated a trio of interceptions, including a pair from their longest-tenured player. Along with his four tackles, Wright picked off two passes during back-to-back drives in the third quarter.
Prior to the game, Wright had made just three interceptions in his nine NFL seasons. Wright’s first turnover prevented the Panthers from cutting into the Seahawks 20-10 lead. The veteran linebacker’s second interception positioned Seattle to further extend their lead when Jason Myers connected on a 30-yard field goal.
After failing to record a touchdown last Sunday in Los Angeles, the third-year running back recorded his third multi-touchdown performance of the season and set a new career-high for single season rushing yardage. In addition to his two touchdown rushes, Carson ran 24 times for a season-high 133 yards along with a four-yard catch.
The former Oklahoma State standout generated multiple explosive rushes against the Panthers, including a 23-yard rush that eventually set up his first touchdown run of the game from 16 yards out. Carson's grueling rushing style played a major role once again on third down plays, as he continued multiple drives for his offense by surging past the first down marker for a fresh set of downs.
The Seahawks were hoping their speedy receiver would return to form against the Panthers. The fifth-year wideout had gone four straight games without producing a touchdown. During Seattle’s victory over Carolina, Lockett caught eight of his nine targets for 120 yards, including his seventh touchdown catch of the season.
The Kansas State product also hadn’t caught a 20-yard pass in back-to-back games. Following his spectacular 44-yard reception in the first quarter, Lockett happily ended that streak in Carolina. With just two games remaining and the playoffs looming, it'll be key for Lockett to continue to replicate this type of performance for Seattle.
With Rashaad Penny ruled out for the rest of the season, Prosise was expected to take over as the backup running back. However, the fourth-year back struggled mightily against the Panthers and was kept on the bench for most the second half. Prosise rushed just five times for 15 yards along with one reception for 10 yards.
Before the end of the first half, Prosise nearly provided the Panthers with an opportunity to trim the Seahawks’ lead before halftime. Stumbling to the ground with the ball falling out of his grasp on a draw play, Carolina recovered the fumble inside Seattle's 20-yard line. Luckily, former Seahawk defender Bruce Irvin just brushed Prosise's foot with his thumb as the running back fell to the ground, negating the fumble after replay.
Coverage on Christian McCaffrey
So far this season, not many teams have been successful with containing the MVP candidate. Following the Panthers' opening drive of the game, it appeared the Seahawks may be able to prevent McCaffrey from exploding against their defense. But as the game proceeded, the third-year running back continued his stellar campaign by carving up Carroll's squad as a runner and receiver.
On the ground, McCaffrey rushed 19 times for a total of 87 yards along with a pair of touchdowns. The ex-Stanford star also caught eight of his 10 targets for 88 yards. Throughout the game, Seattle provided McCaffrey with too much room to operate in the open field, which led to a ton of missed tackles and yards after the catch.
Injuries on Defense
Entering this Week 15 matchup, the Seahawks were already without four key players on defense, including Shaquill Griffin, Mychal Kendricks, and Jadeveon Clowney. Three more names were added during Sunday's game, with Quandre Diggs, Bobby Wagner and Lano Hill all forced to leave the game due to injury.
Thankfully for Seattle, Hill was able to return. As for Wagner, the eighth-year pro stated after the game that he would be fine going forward. While Seattle received positive news regarding Hill and Wagner, Diggs may have suffered a serious ankle injury. The fifth-year pro was wearing a walking boot in the locker room and he'll require further evaluation before determining his status for next Sunday against Arizona.