CAR-SEA grades: Wright, Chancellor lead Seattle defense in win over Carolina

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Seahawks' dominant win over the Panthers in Week 13.

| 6 months ago
Kam Chancellor vs Cam Newton

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

CAR-SEA grades: Wright, Chancellor lead Seattle defense in win over Carolina


Seattle Seahawks 40, Carolina Panthers 7

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Seattle’s Week 13 blowout win over Carolina. 

Seattle Seahawks

Quarterback grade: Russell Wilson, 75.0

Wilson overcomes early miscues

On the very first Seattle drive, Russell Wilson made an ill-advised pass in the end zone that resulted in a dropped interception by Tre Boston—a miscue that could have cost the Seahawks three points. In the second quarter, Wilson completely missed Boston sitting on a post route from his safety spot; the Panthers’ DB was able to secure that one for the interception. Wilson improved from that point on, though, finishing the game with an 82.4 adjusted completion percentage.

Russell Wilson vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

WR Tyler Lockett, 80.1

HB Thomas Rawls, 79.9

G Germain Ifedi, 79.4

WR Doug Baldwin, 78.4

TE Jimmy Graham, 77.6

Skill players nearly unstoppable

The blocking upfront was sub-par for much of the game, but RB Thomas Rawls certainly made the most out of what he had to work with. Rawls topped 100 yards on just 15 carries to average 7.1 yards per carry, and forced three missed tackles. On the receiving side, Wilson was able to spread the ball around as four different receivers topped five catches and at least 60 receiving yards. Tyler Lockett added a 75-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the third quarter for his second long play of the game. Some of Seattle’s offensive line still struggled, however, with both tackles—Bradley Sowell and George Fant—earning below-average grades and combining for 10 total QB pressures allowed.

Top defensive grades:

LB K.J. Wright, 89.5

FS Steven Terrell, 82.6

S Kam Chancellor, 81.9

LB Bobby Wagner, 78.5

S Earl Thomas, 77.6

Linebackers and secondary make the difference for the Seattle defense

Seattle’s front four was not as dominate as we are accustomed to seeing, but the back-seven more than made up for it. There were several good performances in the back half, but LB K.J. Wright’s night stood out the most. He forced one fumble, and when he was targeted in coverage, he broke up one pass and allowed just 7 yards on three throws. In Michael Bennett’s first game back, he had just one pressure on 23 pass-rushes.

Carolina Panthers

Quarterback grade: Cam Newton, 38.8

Poor outing overall for Newton after missing first snap

The game unexpectedly started with Cam Newton on the sidelines for the first play, only to see Derek Anderson’s first and only pass of the night be intercepted after it bounced off Mike Tolbert’s hands. Newton threw a couple of passes into tight windows and was able to power the ball in. However, there were a few throws that he was unable to fit into a tight window—none more notable than the pass that Earl Thomas broke his leg on. If not for the contact by Kam Chancellor on Thomas, Newton would have been looking at another interception. Newton was unable to make plays when the Seahawks got pressure on him. On his 13 dropbacks under pressure, he had a passer rating of 39.6—notably the same rating he would have had if he had thrown the ball away every play.

Cam Newton vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

G Chris Scott, 78.5

C Tyler Larsen 78.2

TE Greg Olsen, 77.2

WR Ted Ginn, 72.4

WR Devin Funchess, 70.1

Offense unable to get anything going on the ground or through the air

Kelvin Benjamin continued his interesting season, where he extended his lead of penalties committed by wide receivers with two more on Sunday night. While he has been a productive receiver this season, he was kept very quiet against Seattle, with two catches on nine targets for only 18 yards as the Seahawks’ tall defensive backs were able to match up well. The only receiver who had any success was Ted Ginn, who accounted for 55 of the team’s 182 passing yards on Carolina’s only touchdown of the night, when Ginn was able to get behind the Seattle secondary.

Top defensive grades:

DT Kawann Short, 81.0

S Tre Boston, 80.0

CB James Bradberry, 79.5

DE Kony Ealy, 79.2

LB Thomas Davis, 76.5

Missed tackles hinder defense

The Panthers struggled in all phases of defense other than pass-rushing against the weak Seattle offensive line. Missed tackles turned short gains into big gains, and big gains into touchdowns. Five players combined to miss 13 tackles on the night, with Michael Griffin (five) and Ryan Delaire (three) being the worst offenders. Sunday night was actually Griffin’s lowest-graded game since the 2012 season.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: K.J. Wright, LB, Seahawks

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Matt has been an analyst for PFF since 2013. He is also a contributor to 120 Sports and a former NCAA Division-III football player.

  • 12thallday

    How is Richard Sherman not a top rated player

    • Shoutout to all the guest

      He didnt have 5 picks

      • 12thallday

        Unless I watched a different game he was targeted 5 times and gave up 1 catch for 11yd that I can remember

        • Shoutout to all the guest

          Yup

    • AKjester

      Earl Thomas was also the 13th ranked Safety per PFF at the beginning of the game according to the broadcast. I think a bias has crept into their analysis of the games. I see their rating of KJ Wright and think their analysis style allows them to notice a player that doesn’t get the hype. Then I see their ratings for Thomas and Sherman and I have to question the whole thing.

      • 12thallday

        Just a curious question what was Sherman overall grade for this game?

        • SikhHawk

          Belichick & Parcells & Gruden & John Lynch think Sherman is the best Corner. PFF cant see what those NFL greats can see, as they have never won a SB. Also Sherman has a high IQ, is articulate & is a sore loser. PFF finds him scary that’s why they rate him low. IMO.

      • gomer_rs

        Their grading system in pass defense doesn’t grade people that the offense doesn’t challenge. And, there is no consideration of range when someone makes a bad play. When ET3 misses tackles, PFF usually grades that as a missed tackle, but a lot of coaches will look at the tape and say, “how the hell did he get in position to make that play?” and mark the play a + for range.

        • AKjester

          I like checking this site for a different point of view, but their level of analysis seems to have gone down from a couple of years ago. Which positions do you think they grade well? It seems like QB at least should still be fairly accurate since TV focuses on the QBs so much. However, you don’t see if they hold the ball too long or the receivers don’t get open. Is any of this analysis any good?

          • gomer_rs

            As a Seattle fan I’ve follwed closely two players that pff is structured not to like. The first is Richard Sherman, who they under grade because qbs don’t challenge him.

            The second is Russel Wilson. Who when healthy, and despite really good traditional stats, pff hated because he held the ball too long extending plays and taking the occasional sack. However, when he was injured and had to play like a short Tom Brady, they called him the first half mvp, despite not being able to convert 1st downs as he dumped the ball quickly to mediocre receivers that couldn’t reach the down marker before the throw, and a marked drop in the his pass production and the team’s run production.

            That being said, they aren’t crap, they just grade to prototype.

  • 12thallday

    I will never understand how players are graded. One of the main reason why I would never pay to join this website.