Seahawks vs. Panthers

When: Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Qwest Field

Records: Seahawks 5-6 and tied for first in the NFC West; Panthers 1-10 and last in the NFC South

TV: KCPQ/13, with Chris Rose, Ross Tucker and Jaime Maggio

Radio: 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Matchup microscope

Seahawks defense vs. Panthers RBs Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson: Stopping the Panthers’ offense starts where the Seahawks have had all kinds of problems in three of their past five games – when they’ve yielded 239 rushing yards to the Raiders, 197 to the Giants and 270 to the Chiefs. If the Panthers do anything well, it’s run the ball, especially with Stewart returning last week after sitting out two games because of a concussion. The former all-state back from Lacey’s Timberline High School and the University of Oregon’s No. 3 all-time leading rusher ran for 98 yards against the Browns last week. Goodson, meanwhile, had back-to-back 100-yard outings against the Buccaneers and Ravens while Stewart and DeAngelo Williams (on IR) were out. Stewart is a 235-pounder with speed, while Goodson is another back Seahawks coach Pete Carroll knows from his days at USC. “So for him to be such an explosive back doesn’t surprise me at all,” Carroll said. 

One to watch

The first quarter: Momentum will be pivotal in this game the Seahawks cannot afford to lose, and another game where the Panthers have nothing to lose. The Panthers have scored 22 points in the first quarter, fewest in the league. The Seahawks have scored 27, which is the third fewest. The Seahawks have scored on their first possession three times this season, all in victories – a 12-play, 77-yard drive to a TD in the second game against the Cardinals; a 14-play, 81-yard drive to a field goal in the first game against the Cardinals; and a six-play, 85-yard drive to a TD against the Bears. The Panthers got their initial first-possession TD against the Browns last week. Their other two first-possession scores were field goals, against the Bears and Saints.

Fun to watch

Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Panthers LT Jordan Gross: Clemons had not had a sack in the past two games and he has only two as the Seahawks have dropped four of their past five games – both in the lone win against the Cardinals. So he’s due, and 5½ of his team-leading 7½ sacks have come in victories. Gross is a former Pro Bowler who has started 115 games since being the eight pick overall in the 2003 NFL draft. When the Seahawks get the Panthers in passing situations, Clemons has to be able to pressure rookie QB Jimmy Clausen into some mistakes, if not sack him.

One tough task

Clausen. The Panthers’ second-round draft choice makes his sixth NFL start at the noise factory that is Qwest, where rookie quarterbacks are a combined 1-4 and the fans have helped produce a league-high 102 false-start penalties since 2005. And if anyone knows the nuances of Clausen’s game it’s Carroll, who first saw Clausen when he was 14 and recruited him at USC. Clausen is 0-5 this season and has completed 83 of 166 passes (50 percent) for 87 yards, with one touchdown and five interceptions.

Notable

The Panthers have lost their past five games and are 0-5 on the road this season. … The Seahawks have lost four of their past five games, including consecutive games at Qwest Field for only the third time in the past six seasons. … The Panthers have committed 29 turnovers, the second-highest total in the league. … The Seahawks have produced 14 of their 19 turnovers in their five victories. … Linebacker David Hawthorne (65) and strong safety Lawyer Milloy (63) lead the Seahawks in tackles, while linebackers Jon Beason (119) and James Anderson (112) pace the Panthers. … The Panthers’ only victory came in Week 7 against the 49ers, the team the Seahawks play next week in San Francisco.


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