The Carolina Panthers have been fighting the good fight ever since a disastrous 1-5 start, but last Sunday’s 35-32 loss to the Raiders dropping them to 4-7 was most likely the last straw.
After faling behind 24-7, the Panthers stormed back to take a 32-24 lead only to let the Raiders go on a 10-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at 8:37 and then allow a 12-play, 82-yard drive to set up a 23-yard game-winning firld goal with 3:20 to play, effectively ending the Panthers hopes of defending their 2015 NFC title in the playoffs.
They’re not mathematically out, though and the Panthers hope to keep it that way as they take the long, long trip to Seattle this Sunday to play a Seahawks team they destroyed in the divisional round of the playoffs last year. Seattle is are coming off a stunning 14-5 loss at Tampa last Sunday.
The Seahawks can still play D with anyone but the offense has been a riddle all season long they’ve failed to solve more often than not. Seattle’s biggest problems are on the offensive line and that’s an area the Panthers will try and exploit Sunday.
CAR 14TH OFF; SEA 7TH DEF
CAR 13TH RUN; SEA T14TH vs. RUN
CAR 19TH PASS; SEA 10TH vs. PASS
CAR 10TH PTS; SEA 1ST PTS ALLOWED
SEA 17TH OFF; CAR 17TH DEF
SEA 27TH RUN; CAR 2ND vs. RUN
SEA 14TH PASS; CAR 29TH vs. PASS
SEA 23RD PTS; CAR 24TH PTS ALLOWED
CAR T23RD TO/TA; SEA 5TH TO-TA
PANTHERS beat SEAHAWKS twice last season on road to Super Bowl — 27-23 in Week 6 at Seattle and 31-24 in the playoffs in Carolina.
Sinking PANTHERS came up just a tad short in 35-32 barn-burner on road vs. Raiders, dropping to 2-5 in games decided by 8 points or fewer after finishing 8-1 in close games last season.
PANTHERS QB Cam Newton threw a pair of long TD passes and had his 5th TD run of the season in Week 11, but he also threw a pick-6 and lost a fumble on a late strip-sack in an uneven performance.
PANTHERS Newton has been sacked 27 times (twice in Week 12) after being dumped only 33 times all of last year.
PANTHERS RB Jonathan Stewart, who had a pair of TD runs in each of the wins over Seattle last year, had 17-96-2 rushing in Week 12 loss.
PANTHERS TE Greg Olsen had 4-45 receiving on 5 targets in Week 12, but his dropped 3 rd -down pass would have put team in FG range.
PANTHERS Olsen had 7-131-1 receiving in Week 6 win over Seattle last season and 6-77-1 in playoff win over Seattle last season.
PANTHERS WR Ted Ginn had 4-115 receiving on 10 targets, including an 88-yard TD catch, in Week 12 loss.
PANTHERS WR Kelvin Benjamin had 2-53 on 6 targets, including a 44-yard TD catch, in Week 12 loss.
PANTHERS defense held Raiders to only 30-55-1 rushing but allowed 8-of-15 3 rd -down conversions and 358 total yards in Week 12 loss.
PANTHERS OLB Thomas Davis had an INT, a FR and 7 tackles in Week 12 loss.
Check status of PANTHERS MLB Luke Kuechly (concussion; DNP in Week 12) and DE Mario Addison (foot; DNP in Week 12).
SEAHAWKS fell into trap in Tampa Bay, as 3-game win streak was snapped in 14-5 loss with offense gaining only 245 yards and failing to score a TD for 3 rd time this season.
SEAHAWKS QB Russell Wilson was sacked 6 times, threw 2 INTs and was limited to season-low 151 yards passing (minus-1 yard in first half) in Week 12 loss. He did have 8-80 rushing, however.
SEAHAWKS managed only 1-of-11 third-down conversions.
SEAHAWKS RB Thomas Rawls had only 12-38 rushing in Week 12 loss.
SEAHAWKS TE Jimmy Graham had 6-67 receiving on 7 targets, but he also ost a 4 th -quarter fumble in Week 12 loss.
SEAHAWKS WR Jermaine Kearse, who had 11-110-2 receiving on 15 targets in playoff loss to Panthers last season, had only 1-8 receiving on 5 targets in Week 12 loss.
SEAHAWKS defense spent 33:39 on field and failed to register a sack in Week 12 loss while allowing 338 total yards.
SEAHAWKS SS Kam Chancellor had an INT and 8 tackles in Week 12 loss.
Check status of SEAHAWKS DE Michael Bennett (missed last 5 games with knee injury that required surgery) and S Earl Thomas (hamstring; DNP in Week 12).