Jermaine Kearse up; Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch down in Seattle loss

Luke Kuechly, Jermaine Kearse earn game balls (2:22)

Carolina MLB Luke Kuechly returned an interception 14 yards for a touchdown and led the team in tackles with 11, but his most impressive play was a pass defensed late in the game. Jermaine Kearse gave the Seahawks a chance, scoring two touchdowns. (2:22)

CHARLOTTE -- A look at the Seattle Seahawks players who were "up" and those who were "down" in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium:


Jermaine Kearse, wide receiver: He was unstoppable in the second half, helping the Seahawks get back in the game after falling behind at halftime 31-0. Kearse made 10 of his 11 catches in the second half, including touchdown grabs of 13 and 3 yards. Yes, the Panthers loosened their coverage with the big lead, but give the man credit for making play after play. He finished with 110 receiving yards. Doug Baldwin (eight catches for 82 yards) and rookie Tyler Lockett (three for 75, one touchdown) also had nice games, including a couple of acrobatic, toe-tapping catches on the sideline.

DeShawn Shead, safety: Deployed as the personal protector on the punt team, Shead took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran 17 yards for a first down late in the third quarter. Great call, great execution.


Russell Wilson, quarterback: Forget the gaudy numbers -- 31-for-48, 366 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson put his team in a major hole with two first-half interceptions, including a panic throw deep in his own territory that was intercepted by linebacker Luke Kuechly and returned for a touchdown, giving Carolina a 14-0 lead. "My fault," Wilson said of the pick-six. "It's on me." He was under pressure and rushed his throw, a major no-no when you're in the shadow of your own goal post. He was intercepted again in the second quarter, setting up a Carolina field goal. Wilson nearly rallied his team from a 31-point deficit, but you can't overlook his mistakes in the first half.

Marshawn Lynch, running back: Beast Mode went into Least Mode. In a long-anticipated return, Lynch rushed for 20 yards on six carries. He should've stayed back in Seattle again.

The offensive line: Let's see, how can we put this kindly? Um ... uh ... we can't. Seattle's offensive line was manhandled at the point of attack, with tackle Kawann Short (one sack) creating havoc inside and Dwan Edwards (one sack) outside. Short was in Wilson's face on the first interception, Mario Addison on the second. In fact, Wilson was pressured on seven of his 19 dropbacks in the first half, according to ESPN Stats & Information. What's more, the Seahawks averaged a mere 1.6 yards per rush before contact. It's hard to win when you get your butt kicked in the trenches. It didn't help that left tackle Russell Okung suffered a shoulder dislocation in the second quarter and didn’t return to the game.

The entire defense: We could pick out a few culprits, such as linebacker Bobby Wagner (missed tackle on Jonathan Stewart's 59-yard run), but the whole unit deserves blame. The Seahawks had no takeaways, allowed 144 rushing yards and generated little pressure on Cam Newton -- a stunningly poor performance by the NFL's No. 1 scoring defense. It was a passive game plan by Pete Carroll, who blitzed on only three of Newton's 23 dropbacks. The worst sequence? Down 14-0, the defense needed to make a stop to turn the momentum, but it surrendered a 15-play, 86-yard touchdown drive. Great defenses don't do that.