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Originally published September 8, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Page modified September 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

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Russell Wilson finishes with flourish after slow start

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Have to admit, I thought the Seahawks would score more than 12 points. Nice call on a... MORE
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CHARLOTTE – Russell Wilson began the day under fire. He ended it simply on fire.

After missing on four of his first five passes in the face of a heavy Carolina pass rush, Seattle’s second-year quarterback was rarely off target again, finishing 25 of 33 for a regular-season career-high 320 passing yards.

“The way we started, we were backed up and they got after us pretty good,” said coach Pete Carroll of Wilson, who finished with a quarterback rating of 115.7. “He didn’t start real well — it wasn’t necessarily him, but we didn’t get the completions.”

After the first two series, though, Wilson found his rhythm, completing 10 in a row to end the first half, and 7 of 8 in the fourth quarter.

“We just kept it alive,” Wilson said. “I think that attitude, that mentality that coach Carroll instills in us really gives us a chance to keep battling no matter what the circumstances are.”

Wilson’s previous regular-season high was 293 against both New England and Chicago last season. He threw for 385 in the playoff loss to the Falcons.

“I thought he did a great job against a very active pass rush,” Carroll said. “He’s more in command of everything that we are doing in every phase. We don’t have to hold anything back. We can do everything we can think of, and he can handle it.”

Running game struggles

The pressure Wilson felt all day was indicative of a Seattle offensive line that struggled throughout against a touted Carolina front seven.

The Panthers lived up to the hype, holding the Seahawks to 70 yards on 26 carries, lower than any total a year ago (85 on 26 against New England was their 2012 low).

Marshawn Lynch had 43 yards on 17 attempts, 2.5 per carry, and Seattle’s longest run of the day of 15 was turned in by Robert Turbin, a key play on what turned out to be the game-winning drive.

“We did not feel good at all about the way we ran the football today, and we need to go back and take a look and see what happened there,” Carroll said. “We thought we would be better than that, and we had an array of things we wanted to do and we tried them all... I thought they played very active up front and were very difficult.”

Seattle tried to switch things around up front, using James Carpenter in both halves at left guard in a rotation with Paul McQuistan.

But asked how Carpenter graded out, Carroll said simply, “I don’t know that anybody came through well up front.”

Thurmond answers call in secondary

While the Seahawks kept it a little coy publicly, they knew on Thursday that starting cornerback Brandon Browner would likely not be able to play after injuring his hamstring in practice on Wednesday.

That gave Walter Thurmond the start — just his third appearance since October 2011 while battling several injuries.

Thurmond finished with one tackle, but more importantly helped key a Seattle defense that held the Panthers to 125 passing yards.

Thurmond played mostly on the outside, but also moved to his more-common nickelback spot when the team went with five defensive backs, with Byron Maxwell playing on the outside.

“That’s a big deal,” Carroll said. “He found out on Thursday that he had a chance to start and he jumped out there and played a terrific football game for us, and that’s exactly what we have seen from our guys when they come off the bench and we need them. (Maxwell) did a good job out there today, too, and that’s a real statement about our depth and the quality of those guys.”

Notes

Penalties were a problem for Seattle throughout the exhibition season and remained so against Carolina as the Seahawks were flagged nine times for 109 yards.

Included were two 15-yarders — a face mask grab and a late hit — on Carolina’s last offensive possession, helping the Panthers move deep inside Seattle territory.

Carroll said he had no quarrel with any of the penalties, saying they “were legit. ... we helped them too much. Got to keep working on that.”

• Seattle suffered only one significant injury as backup safety Jeron Johnson hurt his hamstring on the opening kickoff and did not return.

Wilson’s top passing games
Despite starting 1 for 5 passing, Russell Wilson passed for more than 300 yards for the first time during the regular season. (He passed for 385 yards in the playoff loss to Atlanta). Here are some of his other top passing games:
Date (team)ResultStats
Jan. 13, 2013 (Falcons)L, 30-2824 for 36, 385 yards, 2 TDs
Sept. 8, 2013 (Panthers)W. 12-725 for 33, 320 yards, 1 TD
Dec. 2, 2012 (Bears)W, 23-17 (OT)23 for 37, 293 yards, 2 TDs
Oct. 14, 2012 (Patriots)W, 24-2316 for 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs
Dec. 30, 2012 (Rams)W, 20-1315 for 19, 250 yards, 1 TD
Wilson’s top passing games
Despite starting 1 for 5 passing, Russell Wilson passed for more than 300 yards for the first time during the regular season. (He passed for 385 yards in the playoff loss to Atlanta). Here are some of his other top passing games:
Date (team)ResultStats
Jan. 13, 2013 (Falcons)L, 30-2824 for 36, 385 yards, 2 TDs
Sept. 8, 2013 (Panthers)W. 12-725 for 33, 320 yards, 1 TD
Dec. 2, 2012 (Bears)W, 23-17 (OT)23 for 37, 293 yards, 2 TDs
Oct. 14, 2012 (Patriots)W, 24-2316 for 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs
Dec. 30, 2012 (Rams)W, 20-1315 for 19, 250 yards, 1 TD
Seahawks schedule
DateOpponentTime
Sept. 8at CarolinaW, 12-7 
Sept. 15 S. Francisco5:30 p.m. 
Sept. 22Jacksonville1:25 p.m.
Sept. 29at Houston10 a.m.
Oct. 6at Indianapolis10 a.m.
Oct. 13Tennessee1:05 p.m.
Oct. 17at Arizona5:25 p.m.
Oct. 28at St. Louis5:40 p.m.
Nov. 3Tampa Bay1:05 p.m.
Nov. 10at Atlanta10 a.m.
Nov. 17Minnesota1:25 p.m.
Dec. 2New Orleans5:40 p.m.
Dec. 8at S. Francisco1:25 p.m.
Dec. 15at N.Y. Giants10 a.m.
Dec, 22Arizona1:05 p.m.
Dec. 29St. Louis1:25 p.m.
Seahawks schedule
DateOpponentTime
Sept. 8at CarolinaW, 12-7 
Sept. 15 S. Francisco5:30 p.m. 
Sept. 22Jacksonville1:25 p.m.
Sept. 29at Houston10 a.m.
Oct. 6at Indianapolis10 a.m.
Oct. 13Tennessee1:05 p.m.
Oct. 17at Arizona5:25 p.m.
Oct. 28at St. Louis5:40 p.m.
Nov. 3Tampa Bay1:05 p.m.
Nov. 10at Atlanta10 a.m.
Nov. 17Minnesota1:25 p.m.
Dec. 2New Orleans5:40 p.m.
Dec. 8at S. Francisco1:25 p.m.
Dec. 15at N.Y. Giants10 a.m.
Dec, 22Arizona1:05 p.m.
Dec. 29St. Louis1:25 p.m.

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