For the third time this season, the Seattle Seahawks coughed up a fourth-quarter lead — this time at home.
A miscommunication between Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas led to a 26-yard touchdown pass from Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to tight end Greg Olsen with 32 seconds left that put the Panthers up 27-23 and handed Seattle just its third home loss of the Russell Wilson era.
Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal gave the Seahawks a 23-14 lead with 11:51 left in the fourth quarter, but they managed only 48 more yards of offense — the majority of which came on a last-ditch effort in the final minute — as the Panthers put together a pair of 80-yard TD drives on their last two possessions.
After starting the season with victories against four of the league’s worst teams — the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Carolina (now 5-0) added some legitimacy to its unbeaten start, winning in Seattle for the first time in franchise history.
Newton was without a TD pass and had thrown a pair of interceptions on 9-of-24 passing entering the Panthers’ final two drives. He finished 11-of-12 for 147 yards and the Olsen touchdown from there on out.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks dropped to 2-4 after blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to the Cincinnati Bengals last week and the 13-point fourth-quarter lead to the Panthers on Sunday. The latter is Seattle’s first defeat at CenturyLink Field since last year’s Week 6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Including the Super Bowl, the Seahawks have now lost five of their last seven games, including four fourth-quarter collapses.
Seattle doesn’t play at home again for a month, against the NFC West division-leading Arizona Cardinals. The Seahawks, who have won the NFC West for the past two years, are now tied with the San Francisco 49ers for last place in the division. Keep in mind, though, Seattle started 3-3 last season and finished 12-4.
– – – – – – –