Seahawks top Panthers 16-12


Seahawks top Panthers 16-12

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Seattle Seahawks need their tough defense to make things easier on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. The plan worked perfectly against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Wilson threw the go-ahead touchdown pass to Golden Tate late in the third quarter, while the defense frustrated Newton and the Panthers throughout Sunday's 16-12 road win.

Wilson threw for a season-high 221 yards and shook off two third-quarter interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Of course, it helped that the defense kept the Panthers (1-4) out of the end zone and harassed Newton into a career-low 141 yards passing.

``The defense hasn't had any problems this year,'' Seattle receiver Sidney Rice said. ``They played well enough for us to win all year, all five games. On the offensive end, we need to pick it up just a little bit.''

Carolina had two chances to take the lead in the final minutes Sunday only to come away empty each time.

After driving the Panthers to the 1 for a fourth-down play, Newton rolled to his right and spotted Ben Hartsock open in the end zone, but he threw a one-hopper on the short pass.

Then, after the Seahawks (3-2) took an intentional safety, Carolina got the ball back at its own 31 with 54 seconds left and no timeouts. That's when Bruce Irvin, a rookie, stripped Newton from behind for his second sack. Defensive tackle Alan Branch fell on the loose ball to seal the win.

``It wasn't easy; it might have looked like it was, but it wasn't easy because of all the stuff they do,'' Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ``And they tried all their options and stuff, and we were able to stay in sync with it, so it's a fantastic job defensively.

``Nothing can express it more than standing up on the goal line down there and finishing. That was awesome. It's what defensive players and coaches live for - those challenges and opportunities - and the guys came through in a big way.''

Newton finished just 12 for 29 and was sacked four times. He also ran for 42 yards, but Carolina finished with just 190 total yards.

``When you know what guys are doing and you still can't beat them, they're just good at what they do,'' said Newton, last year's No. 1 overall draft pick.

``Let's call a cat a cat and a dog a dog. They're a great defense. We knew what we they were going to do before the game even started.''

The Panthers' only touchdown came on Captain Munnerlyn's 33-yard interception return early in the third quarter.

``We know he's a great dual-threat quarterback, but once we bottle it up and frustrate him, we know he's going to tank a little bit,'' Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said of Newton. ``We were able to do that today.''

Carolina started the season with plenty of optimism with the return of Newton to lead a high-scoring offense, but the Panthers couldn't rebound a week after losing 30-28 to the Falcons on Matt Bryant's field goal with 5 seconds left.

``This is by no stretch done,'' second-year Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. ``This is 1-4 and we're not going to quit. We're going to show up and we're going to be back on the job (Monday). We will find answers and we're going to win.''

The game marked a homecoming of sorts for Wilson, who first gained acclaim as a quarterback at North Carolina State. He also played minor league baseball in Asheville and Gastonia before returning to college football and finishing up at Wisconsin.

The rookie hadn't thrown for more than 160 yards in a game until Sunday, but didn't panic when he threw the two interceptions and bought time with his mobility on several plays.

``I felt like we had so much control there,'' Wilson said. ``I made sure everyone was on the same page, and even changed the snap count a lot. We did a lot of great things today. ... Obviously, some of the penalties pulled us back, as did the turnovers, but we still did a lot of great things.''

Notes: The Panthers played without three starters; cornerback Chris Gamble, linebacker Jon Beason and offensive lineman due to injuries. ... Newton targeted receiver Steve Smith a season-high 13 times. The previous high was 11 in the opener at Tampa Bay. ... Seattle tight end Zach Miller had three catches for a season-high 59 yards, including a season-long 30-yard catch. ... Rice had five catches for 67 yards. ... Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined to rush for 22 yards for Carolina. ... Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals for Seattle.

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

John Wall crossed one of the biggest hurdles of his months-long recovery from arthroscopic left knee surgery on Saturday by participating in his first full practice.

That means Wall went through 5-on-5 scrimmages with teammates that included contact. He is free of restrictions.

Now it is only a matter of days before Wall is ready to return to game action.

"John did everything, he did an entire practice which was great," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he did a great job offensively and defensively."


Wall, who last played on Jan. 25 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, has missed the Wizards' last 24 games. He has been absent for 35 of their 72 total games this season.

In the months he has been out, Wall has slowly worked his way to this point. He still has to get a few more practices under his belt before the Wizards can outline a target date for his return.

Wall was aggressive in testing his knee by attacking the basket, according to Brooks. Wall was moving around well and even lost a few pounds during his time off.

"He looks great and that's not easy with time off," Brooks said. "He will be back in no time."


The Wizards have gone 14-10 since Wall went down, an impressive mark especially considering how tough their schedule shook out. Most of those games came against teams with winning records either holding playoff spots or fighting for them.

The shine, though, is wearing off. They have lost two straight games and seven of their last 11. Their offense has stalled in recent defeats and it's become more and more clear they could use Wall's presence.

"He gives us that edge," Wall said. "When you have him on the floor, you get a lot of easy shots. John creates a lot of attention when he drives to the basket... I think [his teammates] have always appreciated it, but when you don't have him around you definitely miss it."

While the Wizards continue to wait for Wall to return to games, just having him in practices helps. Brooks explained how guarding a player of Wall's caliber, a five-time All-Star, raises the intensity level of their scrimmages. If his teammates do not bring their best effort, Wall can very easily expose them.


There is also something intangible about Wall's presence. The media sees it once the doors open at practice. He is talkative and energetic on the court.

Some of his teammates even described him as "loud."

"Sometimes I tell him that he's a little too loud," guard Bradley Beal said. "But that's the energy that we've missed."

"He brings the juice. He brings the energy level up," Brooks said. "You miss his spirit. You miss the way he interacts with guys. He's fiery and competitive. He gets after guys. He cheers guys on. I like that. I like guys that show emotion and passion on the court."

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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