Late turnover, TD cost Panthers in loss to Seahawks

The Carolina Panthers showed flashes of brilliance on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

In the end, it was the same old story in another close home loss.

A 43-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse was the difference maker in a 12-7 win for the Seahawks against the Panthers.

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera believes missed opportunities on offense were a theme in Sunday’s game for the Panthers.

“We had missed opportunities to put some points on the board and we didn’t do it," he said. "We got down to the red zone and unfortunately we turned it over. We can’t have that, especially in the situation we were in. We were driving down, had the chance to take the lead. That was disappointing just because we had done a nice job.”

Third-year quarterback Cam Newton echoed his head coach’s sentiments.

“If anybody thinks this game came down to one particular play, it didn’t,” said Newton, who was held to a career-low 125 passing yards in the contest. “As an offense we had our opportunities, second and short, I got to lead the ball, lead Steve on the over route in the first quarter. It’s a couple things that I feel like it was a 50/50 chance. Any time when you are put in that opportunity or put in that situation, it can go either way. For us we just have to be more aggressive and take the bull by its horns and go. I’m speaking for myself, the offense, team, everybody.”

Carolina (0-1) had an opportunity to take the lead late in the contest, but a fumble by running back DeAngelo Williams at the Seattle 24-yard line with 5:34 left in the game.

“In that situation, I’ve watched countless film on them and, I know that’s what they do — they strip and go for the ball,” Williams said. “But I’m a fighter, I’m going to fight for every yard that I can get and help my team win and put them in the best situation. Unfortunately, today they got the ball out and it cost my team and the fans a hard fought win, and I want to apologize.”

The Panther offense struggled against a gritty Seattle defense, tallying 243 total yards.

“I don’t think we had too many three and outs. We got a couple first downs on most drives,” said Carolina offensive tackle Jordan Gross. “We controlled the time of possession and their starting field position wasn’t great or was good on our part, but the biggest thing was turnovers.”

One bright spot for the Panthers in Sunday’s game was its defense, which held Seattle to just 70 yards on the ground.

“Believe me I thought we had the chance to hold them to 12 (points). I really did,” Rivera said. “They are a good football team. They are a solid football team. They run the ball extremely well. They are very tough. This is what they do. They grind you and they grind you. This is almost a repeat of last year’s football game. Again, we had an opportunity when we got down to the red zone and we just didn’t convert.”

The Panthers try to bounce back when they face their first road test in 2013 this Saturday against the Buffalo Bills.

Newton believes that a complete team effort is what the Panthers need in order to pick up their first win of the season.

“It just comes down to us,” he said. “Offensively, we have to execute and make plays. Defensively, those guys are going to do what they do, and special teams as well. But, the unsportsmanlike conduct, the penalties, stalling drives, we can’t have that. We’ll come back and get ready for Buffalo.”