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Week 12 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 30, Carolina Panthers 27


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

As long as Chris Carson is healthy, he has clearly carved out the lion’s share of the carries. The other backs are now sharing a 3rd down/change of pace role. The WR hierarchy is finally clear -- except that it’s also not. Doug Baldwin is still #1, but is hurting and seeing high targets with low yardage totals. Tyler Lockett continues to be a clutch performer, and David Moore continues to impress – but not consistently enough to be considered more than a Flex option. Russell Wilson put up great passing numbers again, even with the run first style his club has committed to.

Carolina Panthers

Despite the heart-breaking manner of this defeat, the Panthers offense moved the ball with relative ease, with missed red zone opportunities proving critical. Cam Newton started the game 14 for 14 in completions and offensive coordinator Norv Turner was not afraid to run the six-foot-five quarterback on zone read looks to settle him in. As a passer, Newton continued to show excellent command of the offense and made mature decisions for the most part. Christian McCaffrey produced his finest performance as a Panther, putting the offense on his back. McCaffrey will not be pleased, however, that he fumbled the ball three times; Carolina managed to recover all three, sparing his blushes. D.J. Moore took over as the de facto number one receiver in Devin Funchess' absence and looked the part, running crisp routes and making several impressive catches on rocket passes from Newton. Greg Olsen's role is diminishing, but he was unfortunate not to reel in a touchdown catch in the red zone, a good defensive play knocking the ball out. The ailing Carolina defense is leaking points at a torrid pace; the offense will have to reproduce performances like this in the coming weeks.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 31 - 339 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0
Most of Wilson’s throws were very short range. But when he did air it out, he found success with David Moore particularly, and with Tyler Lockett on medium routes. He connected with his go to guy, Doug Baldwin, on several occasions, all of which were short passes. Because the Seahawks were playing from behind for much of the game, Wilson did throw a little more than he has been used to lately. Overall a nice game for him, as he not only managed the game well but was also able to limit any mistakes.

RB Chris Carson, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 55 - 1, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets)
They’re going to start calling him ‘The Cat’ after his highlight reel run up the middle. Carson attempted to leap a defender in the open field, who caught just enough of him to send him end over end -- but Carson somehow landed on his feet and kept going for a yard or two before being brought down. The biggest takeaway from this game is that Carson is really doing well on second and third efforts. He’s hitting the hole hard, as usual, but the fact that he so often keeps going forward after first contact, is the heart of his game. The yardage total was nothing to write home about, partly due to playing from behind, as the passing game was a little more active than usual. But, he added a short yardage touchdown, giving Carson a pretty steady fantasy day.

RB Mike Davis, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)
Davis looked like his usual self, strong and quick, but did not have nearly enough opportunities to do any damage. This really seems to be a downward trend at this point. Carson is commanding more carries than he had earlier in the season; meanwhile Davis is splitting what used to be ‘his’ portion of the carries, with Rashaad Penny.

RB Rashaad Penny, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0
Penny was barely used in this one. The bright spot is that he was tabbed for a red zone carry in the second half, which at least tells us that the coaches are not afraid to put him into high pressure situations.

WR Tyler Lockett, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 107 - 1 (5 targets)
Lockett performed well overall, and especially in the clutch. In the first half, he had a nifty catch-and-run for 27 yards. To open the second half, he capped off the Seahawks drive with a low catch that was ruled just inside the goal line. And late in the game, Lockett really made his presence known, with a huge catch down the sideline, that set up the game winning field goal. His rapport with Wilson has always been strong, so expect the heroics (if not the volume) to continue.

WR Doug Baldwin, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (7 targets)
Baldwin had one prime opportunity, as he leapt for a ball just out of his grasp in the end zone. He was Russell Wilson’s #1 target, but was not able to do more than collect short passes. The knee injury is apparently pain-free; however, he spent time this week on the sidelines due to a groin injury. It’s tempting to think that maybe a fully healthy Baldwin might have caught that touchdown – but the truth is, he looks good out there: before, during, and after the catch. What has changed is his usage. The vast majority of his catches were very short throws, in which the Panthers were able to contain him fairly quickly.

WR David Moore, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 103 - 1 (5 targets)
Moore had an outstanding day. His upside is always there, since Wilson like to target him on deep patterns. Though he’s had a few inconsistent weeks lately, In Control might be the best way to describe his play against the Panthers. He was not only able to get wide open on a long sideline pass in the third quarter, but also managed to sidestep the tackle easily and gain more yards. He had one end zone chance that was overthrown; and, later in the game, he showed excellent concentration and patience as he calmly brought in his touchdown catch with the DB right in his face. When he’s in that sort of ‘Zen’ state, as he seemed to be today, Moore looks very good indeed. His targets are not high, but he is getting prime scoring opportunities.

TE Nick Vannett, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (2 targets)
Vannett had two targets, and though he showed excellent hands, and vision after the catch, he’s sharing targets with Ed Dickson, so the volume is just not enough to depend upon. He’s an absolute desperation play going forward, who may get you a score if you feel like rolling the dice.


Carolina Panthers

QB Cam Newton, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 30 - 256 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 63 - 0
Cam Newton produced another fine performance against Seattle, beginning the game with 14 straight completions as he displayed poise and confidence throughout. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner made a concerted effort to get Newton involved as a runner early, with zone read plays a feature. Newton bit off chunks of yardage on these plays, with the threat of Christian McCaffrey putting the Seahawks in a bind. An early drive that saw Carolina move down into the red zone ended in disappointment, a Newton scrambled ruled just inches short of the sticks on fourth down. As a passer, Newton was on point and showed excellent chemistry and timing ñ especially with rookie D.J. Moore and McCaffrey. The offensive line gave Newton a secure pocket to work from, and he took full advantage. His first passing touchdown came in the red zone, Curtis Samuel getting inside leverage on the defensive back as Newton fired a quick slant into his receiverís belly. Newton tried to bite off a bit more than he could chew in the third quarter, tossing a crucial red zone interception. The play saw Newton throw a pass high to the back line of the end zone intended for tight end Chris Manhertz, but the Seahawks had excellent coverage. The safety batted the ball down to himself to end the possession. Newton continued to battle and led the Panthers down the field again on a couple of key drives, one culminating in his second touchdown pass, this one to McCaffrey on a wheel route in the right flat.

RB Christian McCaffrey, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 125 - 1, Rec: 11 - 112 - 1 (11 targets)
Christian McCaffrey appeared to tote every ball and catch every pass in this game, putting the offense on his back as he tore through Seattle's defense. The writing was on the wall for the Seahawks in the early moments, McCaffrey catching a couple of passes in the flat and scooting up the field for easy chunks of yardage. After a time, the chunks began to add up and the Panthers had a couple of red zone opportunities. McCaffrey got the call a couple of times, but the Seahawks were able to make critical stops to deny him. Despite the setback, McCaffrey was unfazed. The offensive line began to open up holes, with McCaffrey hitting the gaps with vigor and pace. Eventually McCaffrey cashed in on the ground with a touchdown run from one yard out, a defensive pass interference penalty setting him up. The play saw the offensive line gash the Seahawks and open a massive gap for McCaffrey to breeze through. McCaffrey was not done, however, and dashed up the middle in the fourth quarter for a 60+-yard scamper that came just a few yards shy of the end zone. Not appearing tired at all after the gut-busting dash, McCaffrey took the next carry and almost punched it into the end zone. A couple of plays later, Cam Newton found him for a touchdown in the right flat after two receivers' routes managed to pick off the Seattle defenders. McCaffrey's ball security was the only blemish in this game; he fumbled three times but Carolina managed to recover all three.

WR D.J. Moore, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 8 - 91 - 0 (9 targets)
Taking over as the de facto number one receiver in Devin Funchess' absence, Moore looked every bit the part. The rookie ran excellent routes and made some difficult catches on laser passes from Cam Newton, creating a positive feedback loop between the pair that lasted the entire game. Moore ran a beautiful over route for his first catch, getting the correct depth and hauling in a perfect pass. As a runner after the catch, Moore consistently terrorised the Seattle defense; on several occasions he appeared to have broken the last tackle with only end zone ahead, but the Seahawks made the plays. Moore's nous as a route runner tested every level of the Seattle defense. He was unfortunate not to break a tackle and get a first down on the critical final play before Graham Gano's doomed field goal in the fourth quarter.

WR Curtis Samuel, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 25 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 1 (2 targets)
It took some time for Curtis Samuel to be integrated into this game, but eventually he sprung loose with a reverse that went for a big chunk of yardage. Not long after that Samuel was in the end zone, running a crisp slant route - the defensive back fell over in the process - in the red zone and corralling a rocketed Cam Newton pass. Samuel grew into the game from that point and could have had another touchdown had it not been for a defensive pass interference penalty. Samuel had position on the defensive back, only for the Seattle player to drape himself all over him as he tried to make the play at the back corner of the end zone.

WR Jarius Wright, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets)
Slot weapon Jarius Wright was largely eclipsed by other Carolina players against Seattle, his most notable play coming on a packaged look featuring a couple of play fakes. Christian McCaffrey drew underneath coverage, allowing Wright to slip behind the linebackers and make a catch on the left sideline. Later, Wright fumbled the ball on a routine sideline catch - and fortunately managed to recover it.

TE Greg Olsen, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (4 targets)
Greg Olsen took a back seat in this contest to the likes of young guns Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, contributing only a check-down option. Off a play action pass, Olsen sneaked across the formation and absorbed a huge blow to haul in his first catch. In the two-minute drill at the end of the first half he provided an outlet for Cam Newton on the sideline, wisely stepping out of bounds. Later in the game Olsen appeared to be open for a touchdown at the back of the end zone. Newton fired the ball into the tight window - a defender had good coverage - and Olsen had it momentarily, but it was knocked out at the last moment. Downfield opportunities were non-existent as the offense adhered to a short to intermediate approach.