(Reuters) - Cam Newton’s nemesis got the better of him once again as the Carolina Panthers quarterback was overwhelmed by a suffocating Seattle Seahawks defense that brought his team’s season to a disappointing end on Saturday.
The fourth-year quarterback, who dropped to 0-4 in his career against the Seahawks, threw two touchdowns but was undone by three turnovers, including two that helped lift Seattle to a 31-17 playoff win.
“The difference was just missed opportunities,” Newton, who completed 23-of-36 passes for 246 yards and two interceptions, told reporters.
“When you are playing a great defense you just got to take what they give you and a lot of times, I was kind of overlooking the play that needed to be made and instead tried to make the bigger play.”
Newton, 25, displayed solid pocket presence for most of the game but will likely regret a handful of decisions that swung the game in the home team’s favour.
His first turnover came in the opening quarter when a 44-yard pass attempt was picked off by Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman at the Seattle 38-yard line.
But it was Newton’s next turnover, a fumble at the Carolina 28-yard line after a moment of indecision, that proved costly as Seattle opened the scoring with a touchdown four plays later.
His final turnover came on the last play of what was shaping up to be an impressive 67-yard drive that had Carolina deep in Seattle territory and trailing by 14 points with about six minutes to play.
As Newton stepped up for a pass attempt from Seattle’s 13-yard line, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor anticipated the throw and jumped in front of the intended receiver before intercepting the ball and running 90 yards for a touchdown that put the game out of reach.
“One thing that we have to learn from this is that great teams build from these types of opportunities,” said Newton, a former NFL rookie of the year.
“Through what we’ve been through this year, it doesn’t stop. We had a great run but yet we just got to come back and mature and grow as a team and know that when we are in this type of situation again we will prosper.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John O'Brien