Panthers at Seahawks: Highlights, score and recap

Dec 4, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes against the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Seahawks welcomed the Carolina Panthers to town on Sunday Night Football.

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Game, the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks did battle on Sunday night. However, this version of the game was not like the first one, as the Seahawks destroyed the Panthers by the score of 40-7. Last year, the Panthers eliminated the Seahawks from the playoffs, while this year, it appears only one team is headed back.

The Panthers came into the game fresh off a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders last week, and they appeared to be suffering from a hangover from it. Starting quarterback Cam Newton had to sit out the first drive due to a wardrobe violation, and backup Derek Anderson quickly made his presence felt. Anderson threw an interception on his only throw of the night, setting the stage for what would be an embarrassing loss for the team.

The Seahawks raced out to a 23-7 halftime lead, and then would go on to blank the Panthers in the second half. The team turned to their backup quarterback for the fourth quarter, as Trevone Boykin finished the game under center. After scoring only five points last week in a bad loss on the road against Tampa Bay, the Seahawks look to have found the answers for their troubles on offense in this one.

While the Seahawks won the game, they may have suffered the biggest loss of the night. All-world safety Earl Thomas had to be carted to the locker room in the second quarter, after suffering an apparent leg injury. After missing the first game of his career last week, Thomas returned to the lineup on Sunday night, but his night would end early. Thomas suffered a lower leg fracture, and is out indefinitely.


Three Stars

1. Thomas Rawls

After struggling since taking back the starting job, Thomas Rawls was the star of the game on Sunday night. The running back rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 carries, as his first touchdown set the stage early. He ran with purpose during the game, shaking off what appeared to be a head injury to return to the lineup to finish the game.

Rawls was not needed much in the fourth quarter due to the blowout status of the game, but seeing him run as well as he did in the game has to be a good sign for the Seahawks. The second-year back is going to play a huge role for the team down the stretch, and if he runs like he did against the Panthers, the Seahawks should be able to challenge the Cowboys for supremacy in the NFC.

2. Jimmy Graham

Boy is it good to see Jimmy Graham doing Jimmy Graham things again. The big tight end continued his stellar play on Sunday night, catching six balls including a touchdown. Not only did he do a nice job in the passing game, but he also blocked very well for Rawls and company in the run game, as the Seahawks displayed a much more balanced attack on offense this week.

More on FanSided:

One huge play Graham made did not even show up on the statsheet, as he turned into a defensive back to knock away an interception in the end zone. While the game may have been out of hand already at that point, the fact that he looks like the player who was the best tight end in the league for the New Orleans Saints has to have the rest of the conference worried. The Seahawks are going to make a deep run this season, and expect Graham to be in the middle of all of the action on offense.

3. Ted Ginn Jr.

No longer can Ted Ginn Jr. be labeled as only a return guy. The veteran wide receiver has put together some big games for the Panthers lately, and on Sunday, made a huge play for the team while the game was still in doubt. He has become the top weapon for Cam Newton in the passing game, as star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin continues to work back from his torn ACL from a year ago.

The Panthers are in bad shape, but the 10-year veteran is putting together one of the better stretches of his career. He continues to show blazing speed for a 31-year-old, and just may extend his career a few more years. In a very lost season for the franchise, Ginn has seemingly found the Fountain of Youth.

Next: NFL Power Rankings: 30 Best QB of All-Time

Next Week

The Panthers will head home next weekend, as they welcome the much-improved San Diego Chargers to town. Seattle will leave the friendly confines of Centurylink Field and head to Green Bay for a huge NFC matchup.