For two weeks – but arguably for more than two years – it built up to this moment. And when it finally arrived, running back Jonathan Stewart took off.
The Panthers, having at long last reached the point of being considered the class of the NFC over the Seahawks, put that to the test when they followed their bye with a home Divisional Playoff against the two-time reigning conference champions.
After losing epic struggles dating back to 2012, Carolina had finally knocked Seattle off back in Week 6. But the postseason was a different beast.
Enter Stewart, who, playing for the first time in more than a month because of a foot injury, set the tone to say the least. On the game's first offensive snap, Stewart allowed a series of key blocks to develop and scampered 59 yards. It was the longest run against Seattle all year and it was just the beginning of an explosive 31-point first half.