The Seahawks finally figured out how to use their tight end.
They just weren’t quite as good at it as the Panthers were.
Cam Newton threw the game-winning touchdown to Greg Olsen with 32 seconds left, leading the Panthers to a 27-23 win at Seattle, exorcizing years worth of demons of close losses.
Olsen finished the game with seven catches for 131 yards (just under half of Newton’s 269 passing yards), but none were bigger than the last 26, when the Seahawks gave him a free release and left him essentially uncovered.
When you’re playing against a team with no outside receivers of consequence, that’s sort of inexcusable.
The Panthers improved to 5-0, and answered a lot of the questions people had about their strength of schedule.
They also continue to excel in close games, as they’ve now won 12 of their last 15 games decided by a touchdown or less (and tied another one).
For the Seahawks, falling to 2-4 is a shock, but the pattern of blowing late leads is now a thing, and with the Panthers quieting the 12th Man was an eye-opener, as the Seahawks hadn’t lost at home.
But the Panthers won it in their typical physical fashion, with Jonathan Stewart running 20 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense keeping Russell Wilson from getting outside and making big plays late.
Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham had his best game since being acquired in trade, with eight catches for 140 yards.
But it wasn’t enough Sunday.