Goodwin: plenty of room for offense to improve

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Goodwin: plenty of room for offense to improve

SANTA CLARA -- Center Jonathan Goodwin, the only starting player on the 49ers with a Super Bowl ring, had a high opinion of his future team while playing for the New Orleans Saints."Last year we played against them and I thought the defense was one of the most physical defenses I played against," Goodwin said. "This was the team I didn't want to play in the playoffs. I thought they had a lot of talent here."
The Saints, fresh off their Super Bowl title, met the 49ers in Week 2. Quarterback Alex Smith had one of his better games, marching the 49ers down the field for a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.But New Orleans closed the game with a 51-yard drive in the final 1:19 to win the game on a final-play field goal."I knew they had Frank (Gore) and Vernon (Davis)," Goodwin said. "And Alex led them right down the field to tie that game. My experience against the San Francisco 49ers was always good. They played us tough last year and could've easily won that game."The 49ers brought in Goodwin, an 10-year veteran, after David Baas signed with the New York Giants after the lockout ended. Goodwin signed a three-year, 10.9 million contract with the 49ers, and has quickly earned the respect of his teammates with his play and attention to detail.
"Once I got here and started practicing with the guys, I saw a lot of potential," Goodwin said. "Hopefully that potential can keep growing and we find a way to score even more points on offense."The 49ers (8-1) lead the NFC West by five games with seven weeks remaining. The 49ers rank seventh in the league in points scored while being tied for 25th in total yards.There is plenty of room for the 49ers' offense to get better, too. The team ranks 24th in red-zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 43.8 percent of their trips inside the opponents' 20-yard line."There's a lot we can clean up," Goodwin said. "We got to find a way to get touchdowns instead of field goals in some of those situations. Who knows, maybe then the game's not as tight at the end."But as long as we get wins, that's all that matters. You don't need style points in the NFL. It's huge that we're finding a way of finding a way to win, even though we know we're capable of playing so much better on offense."

Cam Newton benched to start game vs Seahawks for breaking dress code

Cam Newton benched to start game vs Seahawks for breaking dress code

SEATTLE — A missing necktie led to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton getting benched for one series on Sunday night.

Ron Rivera didn't expect it to last just one play.

Carolina's miserable night was capped by a 40-7 loss to Seattle following the most awkward of starts. With Newton being punished for not having a necktie for the team flight to Seattle, the Panthers' starting QB watched backup Derek Anderson throw an interception on the first play of the game.

The turnover only led to a field goal for Seattle, but it was the start of an otherwise forgettable performance by the Panthers that provided another blow to the dwindling playoff hopes of the reigning NFC champions.

Newton missed just one play, but was also just 14-of-32 passing for 182 yards and one touchdown. After pulling within 10-7 in the second quarter, Carolina let Seattle score the final 30 points.

Seahawks lose Thomas, but run all over Panthers in Seattle

Seahawks lose Thomas, but run all over Panthers in Seattle

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE -- Thomas Rawls ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Tyler Lockett took a reverse 75 yards for a score to open the second half and the Seattle Seahawks routed the Carolina Panthers 40-7 on Sunday night.

Another prime-time game in Seattle was clouded with odd story lines right from the outset when Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was benched for the first play, only to watch backup Derek Anderson throw an interception . It was the start of miserable night for Carolina (4-8) and a laugher that moved Seattle (8-3-1) one step closer to the NFC West title.

Rawls and the run game set the tone for Seattle, gashing the second-best run defense in the NFL for 240 yards. Carolina entered the week giving up less than 80 yards per game on the ground.

Rawls finished with 106 yards on 15 carries, quiet in the second half after briefly being checked for a concussion. He was just the second 100-yard rusher for a run game that has lagged most of the season. Rawls' 8-yard run gave Seattle an early 10-0 lead and his 45-yard sprint early in the second quarter pushed it to 17-7.

Russell Wilson was 26 of 36 for 277 yards and a 1-yard scoring pass to Jimmy Graham in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks rolled up a season-high 534 yards and kept a three-game lead over Arizona in the division with four remaining.

Seattle safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his lower left leg during a first-half collision with teammate Kam Chancellor while trying to intercept Newton's pass. Thomas hobbled off the field putting no weight on the leg and X-rays revealed a "cracked tibia," coach Pete Carroll told Seattle's radio broadcast.

On the play after Thomas' injury, Newton hit Ted Ginn Jr. on a 55-yard touchdown pass to pull the Panthers to 10-7. It would be the only highlight for Carolina.

Rawls immediately answered, darting through the Carolina defense for the 45-yard touchdown run and a 17-7 lead. Steven Hauschka added two more field goals before halftime and Lockett raced 75 yards on a reverse on the first play of the second half. In less than 10 minutes of game time, Seattle extended the lead to 30-7.

Newton's benching was for a dress code violation, according to the NBC broadcast and the single play he missed could not have gone worse. Anderson rolled out to throw a pass to Mike Tolbert. It bounced off Tolbert's hands and into the arms of Mike Morgan, a disastrous result for that only added to questions about coach Ron Rivera's intention with the punishment.

Newton finished 14 of 32 for 182 yards.

LOPSIDED RESULT

It was seventh meeting in the past five years between the Seahawks and Panthers, playoffs included. It was the first time of the seven the game was decided by more than 14 points. Five of the previous six were decided by seven points or less. The biggest win during the stretch was Seattle's 31-17 win in the 2014 playoffs.

BATTERED PANTHERS

Carolina's injury list grew again.

The Panthers were already without starters Kurt Coleman and Luke Kuechly (concussions), and defensive end Mario Addison (foot) on defense, and right tackle Daryl Williams (ankle) on offense. Carolina then lost cornerback Daryl Worley and linebacker David Mayo to concussions against the Seahawks.

THOMAS TWEETS

One of the most emotional players on Seattle's roster, Thomas hinted at retirement in a tweet sent just before halftime.

"This game has been so good to me no regrets. A lot is running through my mind including retirement thanks for all the prayers," Thomas tweeted from the Seattle locker room.

Thomas missed the first game of his career last week at Tampa Bay due to a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Carolina returns home and hosts San Diego.

Seahawks: Seattle travels to Green Bay.