From there, the Seahawks ran out the clock for a 12-7 victory in the season opener Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
"We got down in the red zone and, unfortunately, we turned it over," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We can't have that, especially in the situation we were in. We were driving down, had the chance to take the lead."
Williams knew how costly his miscue was.
"It ultimately came down to that fumble, let's just get that out of the way," said Williams, who had 17 carries for 86 yards. "It was my fault."
Of course, there were other opportunities the Panthers failed to take advantage of – like forcing Seattle to punt on the ensuing drive. But a defense that had performed admirably throughout the day was unable get the ball back to its offense for a final comeback attempt.
"We had an opportunity at the end of the game on defense to get a quick three-and-out and get the offense back on the field, so it goes hand in hand," linebacker
Much like last year's meeting between these two teams (a 16-12 win for Seattle), Sunday's contest was a defensive battle.
After a scoreless first quarter, Steven Hauschka's 27-yard field goal gave the Seahawks a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Carolina answered with the game's first touchdown. Quarterback
Seattle reached midfield by the two-minute warning, and on second-and-seven from the Carolina 42, safety
But after the play, defensive end
Three plays later, Wilson took a first down snap from the Carolina 12. Defensive end
One play after Seattle wide receiver Stephen Williams dropped a wide-open pass a few yards from the right pylon, Wilson launched a deep pass for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who beat cornerback
Seattle's two-point pass attempt fell incomplete, but it proved to be inconsequential.
"I take full responsibility," Thomas said. "I made that play a million times in practice.
"This is just going to be a speed bump."
That's a sentiment shared team-wide one game into the 2013 season.
"We had the opportunity to beat a team that people are crowning right now," Rivera said. "We can play with anybody and we are most certainly capable and we are going to be winning some football games."