CHARLOTTE – There was some nervous moments leading up the snap of the ball, but with the play clock ticking, offensive coordinator Mike Shula went with that worked.
Tight end Greg Olsen's game-winning 26-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the comeback win over Seattle was the same play Carolina used for a 32-yard gain to Olsen on the previous series.
"It was the same play we ran the drive before where I caught it and got tackled at the one," Olsen said. "Exact same formation and exact same play we called. That play worked out well this week."
The play and the formation was the same (trips left, Olsen split right), but Olsen's route was different. The first time, Olsen read the coverage and came back to his quarterback about 13 yards downfield. Newton fired a pass that Olsen snagged over cornerback Richard Sherman and ran down to the 1-yard line. Running back Jonathan Stewart scored on the next play, cutting Seattle's lead to 23-20.
"We hit that same play earlier. Greg's route was a little bit different. Cam made a great thrown and Greg made an unbelievable catch," Shula said.
A little more than three minutes later, Carolina dialed it up again. This time, Olsen ran down the seam and was uncovered in the end zone.
"We came back to it," Shula said. "It worked out."
EARLY DOWN EXECUTION: Shula pointed out some numbers that highlight the outstanding offensive effort Carolina put forth in the final 15 minutes.
The Panthers ran 20 offensive plays in the fourth quarter and faced only two third downs. They scored 14 points.
"The key was the efficiency on the early downs," Shula said.
WIDE RECEIVERS EARN PRAISE: No Panthers wide receiver recorded more than two catches in the win over Seattle, but Shula was extremely proud of the group's effort. During the game-winning drive, Newton utilized six different targets, three of which resulted in big critical receptions by wideouts (Ted Ginn, Jr., Devin Funchess and Jerricho Cotchery).
"Our wide receivers – in my opinion, that's the best they've played all year," Shula said. "Each guy didn't have a lot of catches, but they were coming off the ball. That secondary is pretty good. If they weren't catching it, then they were doing good things to help other guys catch it.
"They've taken it upon themselves to help our football team get better and be accountable. They've been challenged, and yesterday they answered it."
View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's game against Seattle.