Plays to Love, Plays to Hate looks at the most significant plays in swinging momentum and impacting the eventual outcome of the game. There is always plenty to hate about NFL officiating, so we will only focus on the plays on the field, not the refs.
Three plays to love
2nd Quarter 1:47 - Panthers 7, Seahawks 20. Seahawks ball 2nd-and-10 at SEA 10
The Situation: Carolina’s defense needed a stop late in the second quarter to prevent Seattle from adding to their 13-point lead.
The Play: Russell Wilson felt pressure and rolled left. Before the Seahawks quarterback could make a play Bruce Irvin drilled him from behind for a sack and loss of seven yards. The sack ended up forcing the Seahawks to punt from their own five yard line but Carolina’s offense couldn’t capitalize on the good field position because of a Kyle Allen interception.
3rd Quarter 9:27 - Panthers 10, Seahawks 20. Seahawks ball 3rd-and-9 at CAR 45
The Situation: Seattle led by 10 and had driven down to the Carolina 45, just outside of field goal range, and now faced third-and-9.
The Play: Russell Wilson dropped to pass, felt pressure, and escaped left. Luke Kuechly keyed in on Wilson and broke on the Seahawks slippery quarterback before he could tuck the ball and run. Instead of the elusive Wilson scrambling for a first down, Luke forced him to throw the ball away and the Seahawks then had to punt.
3rd Quarter 3:44 - Panthers 10, Seahawks 20. Seahawks ball 2nd-and-6 at CAR 46
The Situation: Kyle Allen’s second interception gave the Seahawks the ball at midfield. Two plays later Seattle got tricky and decided it was a good idea to let wide receiver Josh Gordon to attempt a pass.
The Play: Tre Boston intercepted Gordon’s terrible pass to give the Panthers some much needed momentum as they still only trailed by 10 points. But, as you’ll read below, Kyle Allen figured out a way to give momentum right back to the Seahawks.
Three plays to hate
1st Quarter 13:49 - Panthers 0, Seahawks 0. Seahawks ball 3rd-and-1 at SEA 34
The Situation: Seattle got the ball to start the game and the Panthers defense immediately forced a third-and-1. A stop here would force a three-and-out and give Carolina some momentum right out of the gate. This was tone-setting play for a defense that has been shredded by the run all season.
The Play: Chris Carson took a simple handoff up the gut, found a big hole, and raced 23 yards to the Carolina 43. Fans at home could only shake our heads and lament “same ol’ Panthers.” Seattle scored five plays later to take a 6-0 lead.
2nd Quarter 12:38 - Panthers 7, Seahawks 13. Seahawks ball 2nd-and-18 at SEA 17
The Situation: The Panthers defense forced the Seahawks offense into a second-and-18 from the Seattle 17. Carolina’s defense just needed to be moderately competent for two plays to force a punt and give the Panthers offense a chance to take the lead.
The Play(s): This is a triple whammy. First, Josh Gordon smoked Donte Jackson and Eric Reid for a 58-yard reception to the Carolina 25. Second, on the next play the Panthers recovered a strip-sack but the turnover was negated by Gerald McCoy being lined up offside. Two plays later, the dysfunctional coverage duo of Jackson and Reid had another collective brain cramp and left Tyler Lockett uncovered for an easy touchdown and a daunting 20-7 Seahawks lead.
3rd Quarter 3:04 - Panthers 10, Seahawks 20. Panthers ball 2nd-and-5 at CAR 18
The Situation: Carolina was still hanging around late in the third quarter. A momentum-killing Kyle Allen interception was overcome by a Tre Boston interception to give Carolina’s offense another shot at chipping into Seattle’s 10-point lead.
The Play: Just two plays after Tre Boston’s momentum-changing interception, Kyle Allen gave Big Mo right back to Seattle. Allen went play action and faced immediate pressure. Instead of just taking the sack and living to face another down, Allen made a high-school level panic throw for a terrible interception. The Seahawks started at the Carolina 21 and kicked a field goal to go up 23-10 and the Panthers could never close the gap after this pick.
Closing it out and summing it up
Boy, this is just a bad team.
On offense, Christian McCaffrey (175 total yards and two TDs) and DJ Moore (eight receptions for 113 yards) were once again fantastic. It was nice to see an offensive game plan that got both Moore and Curtis Samuel into the action early with some creative rushes and jet sweeps. Kyle Allen just killed the offense with his three interceptions. It’s time to see what rookie Will Grier can do in the Panthers last two games.
On defense, Luke Kuechly was a monster with 17 total tackles and two quarterback hits. Bless his heart. The Panthers are flat out awful against the run, this time surrendering 133 yards to Chris Carson. They aren’t much better against the pass, either, especially when Donte Jackson and Eric Reid are involved. Jackson has the speed but lacks basic coverage skill. Reid has the skill but just lacks the speed to make up for D-Jax being out of position so often.
At 5-9 it’s time to get the young guys some reps, make sure Christian McCaffrey and Luke Kuechly don’t get injured, and hopefully lose the next two games with some semblance of dignity.
Which Play to Hate had the biggest impact on the Panthers loss?
This poll is closed
1st - Panthers allow a 23-yard run on 3rd-and-1 on the game’s first drive, leading to a Seattle TD and 7-0 lead.
2nd - Triple whammy! 58-yard reception, then strip-sack negated, then Seattle TD for a 20-7 lead.
3rd - Kyle Allen’s interception kills momentum after Tre Boston’s pick.