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Rapid Reactions: Depleted defense left with 37-27 loss

Derrick Brown

SEATTLE — The Panthers have a number of problems at the moment, and being 0-3 might not be the biggest among them.

The fell 37-27 to the Seahawks on Sunday at Lumen Field, on a day when their offense showed its first signs of life, but the defense continued to lose needed parts.

By the end of the day, linebacker Frankie Luvu, safety Xavier Woods, and cornerback CJ Henderson were on the sidelines when they were needed on the field. For a team that lost cornerback Jaycee Horn in the opener (he's on IR with a hamstring) and linebacker Shaq Thompson for the season last week, they were absences they could ill afford.

That left what was left of their defenders gassed, and the Seahawks outscored them 25-14 in the second half.

Those unwelcome bits of news overshadowed what stood as progress for the offense, as backup quarterback Andy Dalton had a solid day in relief of injured rookie Bryce Young.

Dalton finished 34-of-58 for 361 yards and two touchdowns. The pass attempts were a career high for the 35-year-old, but not necessarily what they needed, as they weren't in balance for an extended stretch of the game.

The Panthers entered the day without a pass play of more than 22 yards, but Dalton was able to move the ball downfield a few times, including a 47-yard touchdown to DJ Chark Jr.

But the run game wasn't much of a factor, as Miles Sanders was held to 24 rushing yards (though he did add a second-half touchdown).

Even reliable kicker Eddy Piñeiro wasn't immune to the day, as he missed a 55-yard field goal in the second half, to break his streak of 25 straight made field goals dating back to last year's Atlanta game.

— The Panthers struggled with the crowd noise in Seattle, with seven offensive false starts on the day (four on Ikem Ekwonu and two on Taylor Moton).

Rookie Chandler Zavala had the other one, and the Seahawks crowd fed off the flags late.

In the fourth quarter, linebacker Chandler Wooten got one as a member of the punt team, compounding the problems on the day.

Xavier Woods

— The Panthers didn't come into the game deep in the secondary after some injuries. It got worse.

Cornerback CJ Henderson suffered an ankle injury while breaking up a pass intended for DK Metcalf in the end zone and didn't return.

Later in the first half, safety Xavier Woods left with a hamstring injury, and he was downgraded to out shortly after halftime.

That left the Panthers strapped in the secondary, with Donte Jackson and Troy Hilloutside at corner and D'Shawn Jamison and practice squad call-up Dicaprio Bootle behind them. Special teamer Sam Franklin Jr. took Woods' place, which caused them to have to adjust on special teams again, as Bootle took Franklin's spot at gunner on the punt team.

— Speaking of injury replacements, the Panthers added Luvu as a team captain prior to the game, and he had the C patch on his jersey Sunday.

They were short there after Thompson suffered a season-ending broken leg last week. Luvu was out at midfield with the rest of the captains for the coin toss (which they won).

Luvu didn't take the field in the second half, and was announced as questionable with a hip injury.

— After so much talk about the new kickoff rules and how they might change special teams, we had to wait two and a half games to see the Panthers' first return of the season. Laviska Shenault Jr. returned the opening kickoff 37 yards to the 31 to open the second half.

They had all been touchbacks for the Panthers through two games and the first half at Seattle.

View all the action from the Panthers' game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3 of the regular season.

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