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Second-Half Rally By Seahawks Falls Short In NFC Division Game

Mike McCarn
Associated Press
Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka kicks an extra point against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff game Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers held off a strong comeback attempt by the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday's NFC divisional round game. The final score was 31-24.

Jonathan Stewart, returning from a foot injury, scored two touchdowns after jump starting the Panthers with a 59-yard sprint on their first play. Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and fellow All-Pro Luke Kuechly ran in an early interception for a score as Carolina built a 31-0 advantage.

After a first half with no points, Seattle started showing its pedigree as two-time NFC champs. The Seahawks were showing signs of life, going to a hurry-up, no-huddle offense and opening the third quarter with a pair of Russell Wilson touchdown passes — 16 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 33 yards to Tyler Lockett to trim the Carolina lead to 31-14.

By the fourth quarter, the Hawks climbed back within seven points. But, an onside kick with 1:11 remaining was covered by All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis — and Charlotte could begin breathing again. KPLU Sports Commentator Art Thiel says the Panthers win just shows the Cats wanted it more than the Seahawks. Plus, they took advantage of their bye week to prepare.

The Panthers move to the NFC Championship game and will face Arizona next Sunday.

Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.