Peephole perspective: Lightning in a bottle for the Seahawks, who scored on a 1-yard run by Marshawn Lynch, a 26-yard interception return by MLB Lofa Tatupu and then got an 84-yard punt return by Leon Washington to set up another 1-yard TD run by Lynch. All in the first nine minutes of the quarter, making it 24-14 Seahawks.
Player of the quarter: Leon Washington. He opened the half by muffing the kickoff return, leaving the Seahawks to drive 96 yards to a TD. But he also had an 84-yard punt return to setup another TD.
Play of the quarter: Following a 96-yard TD drive by the Seahawks to open the half, MLB Lofa Tatupu was covering Panthers’ FB Tony Fiammetta on a third-down play. Tatupu stepped in front of Fiammetta to intercept Jimmy Clausen’s pass and returned it 26 yards for a TD that gave the Seahawks their first lead, 17-14.
Number of the quarter: 21. That’s how many points the Seahawks scored, and the offense, defense and special teams contributed to the onslaught.
The bigger picture: The Seahawks opened the second half with a nine-play, 96-yard drive to a 1-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch, who powered into the end zone over left guard on third down. The big play was a 31-yard run by Justin Forsett to the Panthers’ 19 – and Panthers SS Charles Godfrey was penalized for a horsecollar tackle on the play, giving the Seahawks a first-and-goal from the 9. Matt Hasselbeck also hit a 26-yard pass to TE Cameron Morrah on the drive.
On the Panthers’ ensuing series, MLB Lofa Tatupu picked off Jimmy Clausen’s third-down pass that was intended for FB Tony Fiammetta and returned it 26 yards for the TD. That gave the Seahawks their first lead, 17-14, with 9:18 left in the quarter. It was the second TD of Tatupu’s career, and the first since his rookie season in 2005.
Next up, the Seahawks’ special teams. After the defense forced a punt, Leon Washington returned it 84 yards to the Panthers’ 2. It would have been 6, but P Jason Baker got just enough of one of Washington’s feet with a dive to forced Washington to clip his other foot and go down. But Marshawn Lynch scored from the 1 two plays later to make it 24-14, as the Seahawks scored 14 points in three minutes.
The defense forced another three-and-out, as DE Chris Clemons sacked Clausen on third down. But Hasselbeck’s third pass of the ensuing series was intercepted by CB Captain Munnerlyn. The Seahawks, however, forced another three-and-out, and this time DE Raheem Brock got a sack on third down.