NFL Divisional Recap: Panthers Hold Off Seahawks, 31-24, Advance To NFC Title Game
Jonathan Stewart ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers built a 31-point first-half lead, then held on to beat the Seattle Seahawks, 31-24, in the NFC divisional playoffs in Charlotte on Sunday. Carolina dethroned the two-time defending NFC champs and advanced to their first conference title game in 10 years.
Stewart ran for 59 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and the Panthers drove 75 yards in four plays on the game’s opening possession, which ended with his four-yard touchdown run.
Carolina’s Luke Kuechly intercepted Seattle’s Russell Wilson and returned the ball 14 yards for a score on the ensuing drive. The Panthers went on to build a 31-0 halftime lead.
Wilson threw three touchdown passes in the second half, as he tried to rally the Seahawks from the staggering deficit. Seattle drew within a touchdown on Steven Hauschka’s 36-yard field goal with 1:16 left, but Carolina’s Thomas Davis corralled the Seahawks' onside kick attempt to secure the win.
Wilson finished 31-for-48 passing for 366 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Jermaine Kearse caught 11 passes for 110 yards and two scores.
Cam Newton completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers.
Carolina will host Arizona in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif.