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Panthers Blow a 14-3 Lead; Fall to Seahawks 31-14

The Panthers have lost games just about every way this season, and Sunday they found a new way, building a double-digit lead only to see it vanish in thin air losing to the Seattle Seahawks 31-14.

Marshawn Lynch scored a career-high three touchdowns, including two during a 21-point third quarter, as the Seahawks ran past the Panthers, sending them to their 11th loss in 12 games.

Lynch ran 21 times for 83 yards for the Seahawks (6-6), who kept pace atop the NFC West with the St. Louis Rams, a 19-6 winner over the Cardinals on Sunday. Seattle allowed the first 14 points of this contest before roaring back with 31 unanswered points to win going away.

Matt Hasselbeck threw for 229 yards on 17-of-30 efficiency and was intercepted twice, while Justin Forsett ran six times for 60 yards. Cameron Morrah led the receiving corps with three catches for 69 yards.

Jonathan Stewart ran for 92 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers (1-11), who remain the lone one-win team in the NFL after their sixth straight loss. Jimmy Clausen threw for 169 yards with an interception on 18-of-34 throws in defeat.

“We started off well offensively and defensively, [but] they made adjustments and the pressure was to much for us,” stated Panthers head coach John Fox.

Seattle trailed, 14-3, at halftime, but stormed ahead in the third quarter.

The Seahawks began their first drive of the second half at the four-yard line after a muffed kickoff, but drove the length of the field in nine plays. Hasselbeck hit Morrah for a 26-yard gain to get near midfield, and Forsett’s 31-yard run two plays later brought Seattle to the Carolina 9 after a horsecollar tackle penalty.

On 3rd-and-goal from the one, Lynch ran into the end zone for a 14-10 contest.

The Panthers’ ensuing series ended up giving the Seahawks the lead. On 3rd- and-1 from the Carolina 27, Lofa Tatupu stepped in front of a Clausen pass, snatched the ball and sprinted 26 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 9 1/2 minutes left.

Carolina was unable to muster much offense when it got the ball back again and punted to Leon Washington. Washington found daylight up the middle and appeared headed for a touchdown when punter Jeff Baker tripped him up at the two-yard line. Lynch scored two plays later for a 24-14 game.

The Panthers, who had just 88 yards of offense in the second half, gained only four first downs in the last 30 minutes. Lynch’s 22-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter capped off the scoring, and Clausen’s last-minute drive to the Seattle 6 ended in a fourth-down incompletion.

“The difference between the first and second half was all about attitude,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “This game was a big day for our football team. We talked about making a shift.”

The visitors started quickly, moving 61 yards in 10 plays. Mike Goodson finished the series with a six-yard scoring run to give Carolina an early 7-0 lead.

The Panthers doubled their lead early in the second with a 10-play, 79-yard march to the end zone. The key play was Clausen’s 39-yard completion to Steve Smith, and Stewart scored from three yards away for a 14-point advantage.

Seattle didn’t get on the board until the final minute of the first half on Olindo Mare’s 24-yard field goal.

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