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Panthers Have All the Moves

October 09, 2000|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Richard Williamson made all the right moves in his first game as the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator.

The struggling Panthers bolted to a 20-point halftime lead and got field goals of 44, 42, 22 and 29 yards from new kicker Joe Nedney in a 26-3 victory Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks.

"Every time we needed a big play he seemed to call the perfect play for it," tight end Kris Mangum said of the 59-year-old Williamson, who has coached three college and four pro teams since 1963. "I think he brought a new attitude to our offense. Guys didn't want to mess up for him because he doesn't accept it."

Seattle's switch at quarterback didn't go as well. Brock Huard made the first start of his career, replacing Jon Kitna, who had eight passes intercepted and was sacked 19 times in a 2-3 start.

But Huard couldn't move the Seahawks as the Panthers (2-3) avoided a three-game home losing streak. Seattle was limited to 209 total yards and 11 first downs as Kitna spent the game with his arms folded on the sideline.

"I felt like coach put us in position to make plays and we didn't do it as an offense," said Huard, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 172 yards. "No one did enough. That's what coach says about looking in the mirror. No one here can look in the mirror and be happy about a loss."

Williamson moved over from wide receivers coach early in the week when Bill Musgrave suddenly resigned after losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.

Carolina was unable to pass downfield with much success under Musgrave, but the offense flowed smoothly from the start under Williamson despite leading receiver Muhsin Muhammad being sidelined early in the first quarter because of a pulled left hamstring.

Steve Beuerlein benefited the most from the offensive shake-up, completing 27 of 39 passes for 332 yards. Tshimanga Biakabutuka, who had fumbled four times in the last two losses, added 103 yards rushing.

"Everybody understands the emotion of what's been going on the last few weeks here and it was nice to see the good guys win," Carolina Coach George Seifert said.

Beuerlein had a streak of 12 consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended in last week's overtime loss to the Cowboys. But he found Donald Hayes on a slant pattern over the middle for a 43-yard score on Carolina's second possession.

Carolina made the score 14-0 early in the second quarter as Beuerlein's 26-yard completion to Wesley Walls helped set up a five-yard touchdown pass to William Floyd, who wrestled the ball away from linebacker George Koonce at the goal line.

Beuerlein's near-perfect half--he completed 20 of 28 passes for 255 yards--was ruined when he was hurried by a blitz and had a pass picked off by Chad Brown at the Seattle seven.

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