Hawks’ defense prevails over Panthers in 12-7 nail-biter

SEATTLE – Perhaps Sunday’s win over the Panthers will serve as a warning to over-confident Hawks’ fans:

No game is ever guaranteed. Especially on the road.

The Hawks’ 12-7 win over the Panthers was anything but solidified until the final minute of the 4th quarter, when the Hawks took to the victory formation after a solid drive from deep in their own territory.

Second-year Quarterback Russell Wilson started off slow on the Hawks’ first two drives, going 1-for-5. But the Hawks’ star player quickly stepped up in the absence of a running game -- which only gained 70 yards on 26 attempts -- going 25-for-33 with 320 yards passing, one touchdown and no interceptons.

The Hawks, who were stifled by a tough run defense and a plethora of penalties, perhaps had Lady Luck on their side when the Panthers fumbled the ball deep in Hawks’ territory with a little over four minutes left in the game. But credit is due to the Hawks’ D, which held strong against a confident looking Cam Newtown, who went 16-for-23 in the game.

The game started slow for both teams, with the Hawks drawing first blood on a 27-yard field goal from Hawks’ Kicker Steven Hauschka. The Panthers went into the locker room with the lead and momentum, with a 3-yard pass to Steve Smith with 3:13 left in the half. The touchdown to Smith was the lone Panthers’ score.

University of Washington alum Jermaine Kearse scored the first touchdown of his NFL career and the first of the Seahawks’ young season on a 43-yard pass from Russell Wilson. Wilson nearly connected with Doug Baldwin for a long drive moments before, but Baldwin dropped the ball as he hit the ground.

The victory capped the Hawks’ first road-opening win since 2006, and got the team off to a strong, if expected 1-0 start.

But many questions remain. Where was the Hawks’ pass rush, what about the shaky offensive line, and where o’ where was star runningback Marshawn Lynch, who carried the ball 17 times for only 43 yards? The young Hawks were also hampered by nine penalties for a loss of 109 yards.

The Hawks will look to add to their win column next Sunday against NFC West Division rival 49ers ,who face off against Green Bay later today.


-- Seattle gets some breathing room on a 3rd and 3 completion to Doug Baldwin. Baldwin has seven catches for 91-yards and is the leading receiver. Hawks will look to grind it out with a ground game that hasn't been too effective throughout the game.

-- Hawks' get the ball on a fumble recovery. Tough blow for the Panthers who were driving with around 5 minutes left in the game.

-- Hawks get some big penalties to put the Panthers on the hawks' 43. 1st and ten from Carolina. We're going to tone back the live updates here, and pay attention to the game, unless there's a big penalty, injury, score or something else.

-- Touchdown Seahawks! 43-yard pass from Russelll Wilson to Jermaine Kearse. Hawks go up by 5 after missing a two-point conversion. Hawks lead the Panthers 12-7 with 10:13 to go in the fourth quarter. Were you getting nervous?

-- Russell Wilson to Golden Tate to complete on third down. Robert Turbin gets 15 yards on a rush. Finally, some rushing yards.

 -- The Seahawks have the ball on their own 25-yard-line. Hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch who again gets nothing. No rushing yards allowed... or at least it feels like it.

 4th Quarter -- Panthers looking at 3rd down and 12. Hawks hoping to get the ball back in the fourth quarter.

 -- Steve Smith is looking strong as a TE for the Panthers.  Has six catches for 61 yards and one touchdown.

-- Hawks get backed up after a nice drive and have to settle for a field goal. Hauschka hits a 40-yard field goal to put the Seahawks within one. 7-6 Carolina.

-- Hawks are driving. Have the ball down on their own 17. Hawks looking to score their first TD of the 2013 season.

-- Doug Baldwin gets a catch to keep the Seahawks drive alive. What a catch? It's under review, but...pssh. The Hawks got this.

-- Hawks have the ball near midfield after a long completion. But Marshawn Lynch gets stuffed again, only having 28-yards on 11 carries. The Hawks have a 3-and-8 at the Panthers 48.

-- Panthers are short on third down by about two inches. Panthers look to punt. Golden Tate gets the ball on the Hawks 20.

-- Hawks looked to hold the Panthers on 3rd-and-6 but can't do so. Seahawks haven't been able to get too much pressure on Newtown. Panthers have the ball on their own 24.

-- Hawks can't capitalize on the first turnover of the game. Forced to punt the ball. The Panthers will get the ball back on their own 10 yard line.

-- Turnover to the Seahawks! Hawks have a first down near mid-field after a punt hits a Carolina player and the Hawks recover. The field position would have been better, but the Hawks had a taunting penalty as one of the players tried to rip another by his leg from the pack.

-- Russell Wilson tries to extend a play, but the Hawks have two holding penalties. Golden Tate gets up to the 28-yard-line, but the Hawks have to punt. The Panthers look very good defensively.

-- Pete Carroll says he's not concerned, that the team just needs to get in a rhythm. What do you think, Hawks fans?

Panthers lead the Seahawks 7-3 at the end of the first half. 

-- Wilson is sacked from behind and looses the football. Panthers get the ball on the their own 12. A big blow for the Hawks who were looking to score before tha half. Newtown has three time outs.

-- Frank Alexander of the Panthers gets a personal foul and is ejected from the game to bring the Hawks' to the Panthers 40. A lucky turn of events for the Hawks, who looked to score before they head to the locker room with a minute left in the first half.

-- Russell Wilson gets sacked for a long loss. But a flag is down. We'll see what happens here.

-- Hawks are near midfield with the 2-minute-warning coming at the end of the 2nd quarter.

-- Marshawn Lynch gets the carry on first and 10 on the Hawks own 20. Doesn't get much.  Lynch only has 19 yards on 8 carries.

-- Panthers score a TD on a 4-yard pass from Newtown to Steve Smith. Panthers lead 7-3 with 3:13 left in the 2nd quarter. The heat my be getting to the Hawks D, who have been on the field for more than 15 minutes in the first half.

 -- 3rd and 7 for the Panthers and they convert to Steve Smith for first and goal. A missed tackle from Thurmond hurts the Hawks. Now, the Hawks have to hold them on first and goal.

-- Cam Newtown takes off on third down to keep the Panthers' drive alive. Then, runningback Deangelo Williams rushes for an 11 yard game to put the ball on the Seahawks 14. Hawks look to hold them here.

-- Newtown hits Greg Olsen on a 2nd and 8 for a long completion. A 26-yard pickup brings the Panthers close to midfield. Newtown looks strong, going 6-for-9 early on.

-- Panthers get the ball on their own 20.

 -- Strong drive for the Hawks, but they have to settle for a field goal. Wilson 8-for-12 early on after starting 1-for-5. Seattle goes up 3-0 with 9:36 to go in the first quarter.

 -- Hawks are 2nd and 23 after getting down to the Panthers' 12-yard-line. Hawks need to get down to about the one yard line for a first down.

-- Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin for a 25-yard pickup. Lynch is getting tackled in the backfield, but Wilson is making up for it in his arm here. Hawks are driving.

2nd Quarter -- That's more like it. Wilson completes on 3rd-and-7 to Syndney Rice. Hawks have first and 10 on the Panthers 43. The Hawks are starting to drive and waking up from the funk the team was in on the first couple drives of the game.

 -- Wilson completes a pass to Doug Baldwin for the first down. That pretty much brings the first quarter to an end, with the game all knotted up at 0-0.

-- Marshawn Lynch gets the carry on 2nd and four for the first down. First first down of the regular season comes with about two minutes left in the first quarter. The Hawks looking at 2nd and 3 on their own 35.

 -- Newtown looks strong. Barely missed a long completion. Golden Tate gets a punt and does his best to get the ball out to the Seahawks 18.

-- We have an injured player for Carolina. A much needed break for the Seahawks D, who have been on the field 75 percent of the time. The Hawks possessed the ball for only 28 seconds their last time out.

-- Hawks have a couple of incomplete passes for 3rd-and-10. Wilson having a hard time finding any open receivers. Has Golden Tate open but misses him to force another Hawks 3-and-out. Wilson is 1-for-5 in the early game.

 -- O'Brien Schofield gets the Seahawks first sack of the season to drop Newtown for a bit of a loss. Seahawks get their defense off the field quick, which is important in that Carolina heat. Golden Tate takes the ball to the 29-yard line.

-- How about John Ryan's leg, huh? Ryan punts out of his own endzone to put the Panthers on their own 35. Hawks look stalled early. Lets see if they can pump it up.

-- Seahawks are backed up in their own end zone. Wilson very nearly takes a safety. 3rd and 10 from the Hawks own 5. Not much doing, so the Hawks will have to punt the ball from deep in their own territory.

-- Very nearly an interception for our boy Richard Sherman. Golden Tate calls a fair catch and the Seahawks get the ball on their own 3. A long way to go, but Russell can do it.

-- Walter Thurmond got their a little early on third down for a pass interference call. Panthers have the ball on the Hawks 49. The Seahawks defense looks on its heals, and there was some busted coverage. Lets see if they can calm it down. The Hawks only allowed an average of 15 points per game last year.

-- Carolina is driving near midfield. Is it too early to be worried?

-- Cam Newton completes his first pass to Greg Olsen for a six yard gain. Panthers are on their own 37 and look steady over the first four plays.

-- Kickoff! Steven Hauschka kicks it off to the Panthers. Carolina will take it on their own 20. We're underway.