Panthers At Seahawks Review
Sunday, January 23rd, 2006
- Page updated at 8:30am
Analyst For WagerOnFootball.com Sportsbook Review
GAME BY GAME SUMMARIES - conference PLAYOFFS
panthers at seahawks REVIEW
Score: Seattle 34, Carolina 14
- Shawn Alexander rushed for 132
yards and two touchdowns while Matt Hasselbeck added
a pair of scores through the air, as Seattle advanced
to the Super Bowl for the first time in its 30-year
history with a convincing 34-14 victory over Carolina
in the NFC Championship Game.
Alexander carried the ball 34 times
and showed no effects from a concussion which knocked
him out early of last weekend's divisional-round win
over Washington, while the Seahawks' defense neutralized
the dangerous Steve Smith to punch their ticket to
Seattle, the top seed in the NFC, will
face Pittsburgh February 5 at Ford Field in Super
Bowl XL. The Steelers posted a 34-17 decision over
Denver at Invesco Field in Sunday's AFC title game.
"Being in the locker room and
talking to all the people in there, I realize this
a big deal to a lot of people." said Hasselbeck.
Smith, who racked up 22 catches for
302 yards and four total touchdowns in earlier playoff
wins over the Giants and Bears, was limited to 33
yards on five receptions. The All-Pro wideout did
have a 59-yard punt return for a TD in the second
quarter for the Panthers' first points.
Hasselbeck completed 20-of-28 passes
for 219 yards and delivered scoring strikes to Jerramy
Stevens and Darrell Jackson in a near-flawless performance.
His counterpart, Jake Delhomme, suffered
through a miserable day in contrast. Carolina's signal-caller
and leader went just 15-of-35 for 196 yards and threw
three interceptions, two of which helped the Seahawks
build a big early lead.
Delhomme did connect with Drew Carter
on a 47-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter
to close out the scoring. Carter ended with 88 yards
on a pair of receptions.
The Panthers couldn't run the ball,
either. Nick Goings, subbing for the injured DeShaun
Foster, had just two yards on five attempts before
leaving due to a helmet-to-helmet collision with Seattle's
Lofa Tatupu late in the first quarter. Carolina mustered
a mere 36 yards on the ground and all but abandoned
the run game after Goings departed.
"They outplayed us, they outhustled
us, they overall flat out beat us," said Smith.
Smith's first catch didn't come until
early in the second quarter. By that point, Seattle
held a cushy 17-0 lead after taking advantage of two
Delhomme's first critical mistake came
in the first quarter with his club in an early 7-0
Looking for Smith down the middle,
Delhomme didn't see Tatupu underneath. The rookie
linebacker stepped in front to make the interception
and took it 21 yards before being tripped up at the
An 11-yard connection from Hasselbeck
to Stevens quickly gave Seattle a 1st- and-goal, but
the Panther defense held and forced Josh Brown's 24-yard
field goal that put Seattle up 10-0 late in the first
On Carolina's next possession, Delhomme
underthrew Keary Colbert while under heavy duress,
and the pass was picked off by Marquand Manuel and
run back 32 yards to the Panthers' 17. Alexander ripped
off a 15-yard run to the one soon afterward, then
powered into the end zone on the second play of the
second quarter to extend the Seahawks to a commanding
Carolina mustered just six total yards
in the opening quarter and its lone first down came
via a defensive holding penalty.
"We talked about it all week,
to take away a lot of the things they like to do,"
said Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren. "We had
a pretty good pass rush and we tried to tackle them."
The Panthers' offense began to show
some life on their ensuing drive, as Carter made a
leaping 41-yard catch to the Seattle 26. However,
a holding penalty and Rocky Bernard's sack of Delhomme
induced another punt.
Smith, who was visibly frustrated by
lack of plays coming his way early on, took matters
into his own hands shortly afterward. The big-play
receiver fielded Tom Rouen's line-drive punt at his
own 41, then sprinted up the middle and shook off
a tackle before outracing the coverage unit to the
The touchdown, which came with 9:05
left in the half, appeared to be nullified at first
by an illegal block by Vinny Ciurciu, but officials
waved off the flag after consulting.
"Some people think I'm getting
upset when I'm not getting the ball," Smith explained
afterward. "I get upset when we're not moving
the ball, when we're not operating as an efficient
unit as an offense. This is a team effort and whenever
a team is not moving the ball they way we like to,
Seattle answered with a 10-play, 57-yard
drive capped by Brown's 39-yard field goal that pushed
the lead to 20-7 with 4:03 remaining before intermission.
Alexander helped set up the kick with back-to-back
runs of 11 and 18 yards.
The Seahawks continued their domination
once the second half began, marching 65 yards in eight
plays on the opening possession of the third quarter
to push the margin even further.
Alexander racked up 27 yards on three
carries during the series, including a powerful 16-yard
burst to the Carolina 20. Two plays later, Hasselbeck
pump- faked before hitting an open Jackson down the
right sideline for a 20-yard touchdown and a 27-7
advantage less than four minutes into the period.
The Panthers offense, meanwhile, continued
to bog down. Carolina went three- and-out on its first
two drives of the second half and Delhomme threw his
third interception of the day to kill the third in
"I think the biggest thing was
how well our defense was playing and how our crowd
was into (the game)," Hasselbeck remarked.
Alexander's second score of the afternoon,
a one-yard plunge with six minutes to play, put Seattle
up 34-7. Carter hauled in Delhomme's deep ball less
than a minute later to make things somewhat more respectable.
Hasselbeck found Stevens wide open
over the middle for a 17-yard touchdown that opened
the scoring with 5:31 left in the first quarter. Backup
quarterback Seneca Wallace made a dazzling over-the-shoulder
grab of a Hasselbeck deep throw for a 28-yard gain
right before the TD strike.
Jackson finished with six catches for
75 yards while Stevens had 66 yards on six grabs.
Seattle was playing in only its
second conference championship game in franchise history.
The Seahawks lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in the
AFC title game during the 1983 season...Holmgren,
who guided Green Bay to back-to-back Super Bowls in
1996 and 1997, became the fifth head coach in league
history to take two different teams to the big game.
He joins Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Don Shula and
Dick Vermeil...Carolina was bidding to become the
first team in NFL history to win five straight playoff
games on the road...Alexander's yardage total eclipsed
the club playoff record of 123 yards set by Dan Doornink
against the Raiders on December 22, 1984...Delhomme
had thrown just two interceptions and 10 touchdowns
in his previous six playoff appearances.
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