The Carolina Panthers offensive line has been shuffled around for the past two weeks, and it appears that will continue.
Starting right guard Garry Williams left Sunday’s game in the first half with a left knee injury, and after the game Ron Rivera wasn’t optimistic about a timely recovery.
The Panthers are already down a starting left guard in Amini Silatolu, and they played guard by committee Sunday. Rivera is hopeful Silatolu will be back from his hamstring injury in time for next week’s game at Buffalo.
“It’s not looking good for Garry Williams right now,” Rivera said. “We will get an MRI on that to see exactly the extent, but we most certainly need those guys back next week.”
Chris Scott got the start at left guard and alternated with Travelle Wharton. The Panthers signed Scott midway through training camp and signed Wharton two weeks ago. Wharton, a 10-year veteran, spent his first eight years at Carolina.
Left tackle Jordan Gross and center Ryan Kalil are the only linemen entrenched at their positions. Gross said he believed the players at left guard played well.
But with Williams out, the Panthers will likely slide Scott over to right guard. That would leave Carolina with just one backup — Jeff Byers — on the interior of the line.
Beason rusty : Weakside linebacker Jon Beason was less than pleased with his performance to start the season.
When asked how he thought he played, Beason said he was “just all right” and that it’s still “a work in progress.”
Beason had microfracture knee surgery in October and was limited all week at practice. The Panthers are easing him back in and had a snap limit at 35 for Sunday’s game.
At times he looked slow closing in on receivers, notably on an 18-yard pass and catch by tight end Zach Miller that saw Beason trailing the receiver after the catch.
“At times you could see he’s still a little bit rusty,” Rivera said. “He lost a couple of angles, which he normally doesn’t do, especially when you see him at practice not losing any angles. And to a degree I think his legs got a little bit heavy. At the end of the day he’s still working himself back into game shape.”
Special miscues : A couple of special teams mistakes cost the Panthers against the Seahawks.
Armond Smith, a gunner on the punt team, was flagged twice. The first time brought a 15-yard penalty for running out of bounds without immediately trying to get back in bounds. The second came when he voluntarily went out of bounds without being forced.
“For the first one that I ran out too long,” Smith said. “I’m not sure really what it was. I’m going to go back and look at the film and try to get better from it.”
Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas gave the Seahawks their best starting field position of the day when a short Jon Ryan punt hit him on the leg.
Returner Ted Ginn Jr. was waving teammates off and calling out “Peter,” the term used to indicate a short punt, but Thomas was engaged on his block.
“At that point I was already downfield blocking,” said Thomas when he heard the call. “It’s really a gray area. I think I can play maybe a bit more aware.”
Mikkel gassed : Quintin Mikell had the opportunity many veterans covet by taking off training camp this summer.
Mikell, a safety, was a free agent until Monday, when Carolina signed him. But his “vacation” also meant he wasn’t conditioned as well as he would have liked.
Mikell got the start at strong safety with Mike Mitchell inactive, and while his coach liked what he saw in Mikell’s first game, the team had to make a change toward the end of the game.
“I thought Quintin did a nice job he just ran out of gas at the end of the day,” Rivera said. “He cramped up pretty bad and we had to put D.J. Moore in at safety, something we were hoping not to do, especially on first and second down when they were trying to pound it.”
• The Panthers coaches warned players that Seattle would play chippy, and defensive end Frank Alexander fell for it, Rivera said. Alexander hit offensive tackle Breno Giacomini in the head in the second quarter, earning him a disqualification.
• Mike Tolbert only touched the ball five times Sunday as the Panthers are limiting him following a hamstring injury. He had four rushes for 10 yards and one catch for minus-6.
• Seattle punter Jon Ryan and Carolina punter Brad Nortman put on a clinic at Bank of America Stadium. Nortman averaged 47.8 yards per punt with a long of 57 and Ryan averaged 49.5 yards per punt with a long of 69.
• Along with Mitchell and Silatolu inactive, the Panthers placed DE Wes Horton, WR Domenik Hixon, OL Brian Folkerts, RB Kenjon Barner and CB James Dockery on their inactive list.
By the numbers
49 Number of plays run by Carolina’s offense Sunday.
115.7 Russell Wilson’s quarterback rating.
3 Catches for Jermaine Kearse in his career before his game-winning touchdown
1 Sack allowed by the Panthers’ line, which allowed four in last year’s meeting with Seattle
109 Penalty yards for Seattle, on nine flags.
• “I think Coach (Mike) Shula did an unbelievable job with calling plays today, we just have to take what the defense gives us.” — Carolina QB Cam Newton
• “I’ll never forget N.C. State and just the North Carolina people in general — how awesome they are.” —Seattle QB Russell Wilson
• “I’m from Texas and it’s always hot down there. It was just like I was back home today.” — Seattle safety Earl Thomas
• “We all have our blame in it, me as much as anybody. We’ve got 15 games and we’ve got to get this right.” — Carolina TE Greg Olsen
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9