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10/07/2012 9:14 PM EDT
Seahawks top Panthers 16-12
SEATTLE 16, CAROLINA 12

By AARON BEARD
AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Bruce Irvin raced by an offensive lineman
and chopped down on Cam Newton's arm as the quarterback loaded
up to throw downfield.



The ball popped free and into the hands of a teammate, capping
the latest strong performance by a Seattle Seahawks defense that
made life miserable for Newton and the Carolina Panthers.



Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a 13-yard touchdown pass
to Golden Tate with 35 seconds left in the third quarter, while
the defense kept the Panthers' offense out of the end zone in a
16-12 win Sunday.



Wilson shook off two third quarter interceptions - including one
returned for a touchdown - and outperformed Newton on a
struggle-filled day for the Carolina offense, which finished
with only 190 yards.



That included forcing Newton into an incompletion on a
fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 3:47 left.



"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."



Wilson threw for 221 yards, while Marshawn Lynch ran for 85
yards for the Seahawks (3-2) in their first road win.



Newton threw for a career-low 141 yards on 12-for-29 passing and
he was sacked four times. He also ran for 42 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.



Carolina started the season with plenty of optimism with the
return of Newton to lead a high-scoring offense, but the
Panthers (1-4) 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 offense never found a rhythm while Newton was frequently off
target, completing just 3 of 15 passes for 40 yards in the first
half.



"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. "We were able to
do that today."



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 the 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 took an intentional safety, Carolina
got the ball back at its own 31 with 54 seconds left and no
timeouts. That's when Irvin, a rookie, stripped Newton for his
second sack. Defensive tackle Alan Branch fell on the loose ball
to seal the 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."



After Brandon Browner ripped the ball away from DeAngelo
Williams and recovered the fumble to give Seattle a short field,
Wilson moved the Seahawks to the Carolina 13 then found Tate
over the middle. Tate spun off a hit from Thomas Davis around
the 4 and into the end zone for the 13-10 lead.



Steven Hauschka added his third field goal to make it 16-10 with
about 10 1/2 minutes left.



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. ...
Seattle's Sidney Rice had five catches for 67 yards.

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