RENTON, Wash. (AP) — For a change, the conversation about whether Russell Wilson was the best option at quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks was a bit muted on Monday.
Rightfully so after the performance the Seahawks defense turned in a day earlier in shutting down Cam Newton and Carolina.
And while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll felt the effort his defense put forth in Sunday's 16-12 win could be the best since he took over in 2009, he also added this bit of caution.
"We're just getting better. It feels like we are very, very early in the stages so hopefully we can keep going," Carroll said.
Despite all the ways the Seahawks tried to give away Sunday's game, the end result was their defense would not let it happen. Facing the Panthers' unique offense, Seattle limited them to 190 total yards, a combined 2 of 15 on third and fourth downs and the worst day passing in Newton's young career.
Newton was just 12 of 29 for 141 yards and was sacked four times. Only one other time in his two seasons has Newton completed less than 50 percent of his attempts.
The 190 yards of total offense were the fewest allowed by the Seahawks since November 2007 against San Francisco. Carolina had only two plays of more than 20 yards after coming into the week averaging more than five per game.
"Most teams, after three turnovers, something would go wrong. But our defense held on and fought hard and we stayed true to what we were there to do and finished the game really well," Carroll said. "It was an exciting game for our guys. I love seeing that we played so well and so tough on defense."
There were plenty of moments when the Seahawks defense shined on Sunday and cornerback Brandon Browner was often in the middle. It was Browner's strip of DeAngelo Williams and subsequent fumble recovery in the third quarter that changed the momentum after Seattle had gifted the Panthers three turnovers, including Captain Munnerlyn's 33-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Carolina a 10-6 lead.
Browner's forced fumble led to Wilson's touchdown pass to Golden Tate that gave the Seahawks the lead late in the third quarter.