Golden Tate scored the Seahawks’ only touchdown, but it was enough to beat the Panthers. (US Presswire)

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson made a triumphant return to the state of North Carolina and led Seattle (3-2) to a 16-12 win over the Carolina Panthers (1-4).

Wilson starred at NC State before transferring to Wisconsin for his senior season. In the fifth game of his rookie season, he was nearly perfect in the first half, going 12 of 13 for 123 yards and a 6-0 lead.

QB Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense struggled. Newton went 3 for 15 for 40 yards in the first half, and the Panthers didn’t reach 100 yards of offense until late in the third quarter.

The Panthers' defense turned the game in the second half, getting three turnovers in the first 5:30. Wilson took advantage of a fumble by Carolina RB DeAngelo Williams and found Golden Tate for a go-ahead 13-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter.

The Seahawks survived a late rally, stopping the Panthers at fourth-and-goal from the 1 when Newton threw incomplete.  

When the game turned: With 2:37 remaining in the third quarter and Carolina leading by four, Newton threw a screen to Williams. CB Brandon Browner met Williams behind the line of scrimmage, fought off two blockers and then stripped the ball and recovered the fumble to set up Seattle’s go-ahead touchdown.

Highlight moments:

  • On his first pass of the second half, Seahawks QB Wilson threw right to TE Anthony McCoy. Panthers CB Captain Munnerlyn, starting in place of Chris Gamble (out with a knee injury), jumped the route and took the interception 33 yards for a touchdown. Despite being thoroughly outplayed in the first half, the Panthers took their first lead of the game two-and-a-half minutes into the second half.

  • After a Williams fumble gave Seattle the ball at the Panthers' 27, Wilson faced a third and eight from the 13. The Seahawks burned a timeout, then Wilson threw over the middle to Tate. Munnerlyn and linebacker Thomas Davis had a shot at him at the 6, but they collided as Tate carried it into the end zone to give Seattle a 13-10 lead in the final minute of the third quarter.

  • On third and 8 from his 22-yard line to start the fourth quarter, Newton passed to Jonathan Stewart, who took it past the first-down marker to the 32. But Stewart fumbled and the ball bounced back to the 29 to force a Panthers' punt.

On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, with less than four minutes remaining in the game, coach Ron Rivera decided to go for it. The Panthers punted on fourth-and-1 late in the game last week in a loss to the Falcons. Cam Newton rolled right and ended up bouncing a pass in the direction of TE Ben Hartsock.

Top-shelf performances:

  • Wilson -- 19 of 25 for a career-high 221 yards. He also rushed four times for 13 yards.

  • Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch -- 21 carries for 85 yards, with 57 in the second half, and 33 in the fourth quarter.

  • Panthers LB Luke Kuechly -- 11 tackles, including seven solo, a tackle for loss and an interception.

What they said about Newton’s incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the 1:

  • Newton -- “It came down to two reads -- me running it or throwing to Greg (Olsen). I didn’t see anything. I looked back, and Ben Hartsock was wide open. I failed to throw it to him. That’s on me. My number was called, and I didn’t get the job done.”

  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera -- “It was a run/pass option, and he had a guy wide open. We had the opportunity, but unfortunately, we didn’t take it.”

What they said about Browner’s forced fumble and fumble recovery:

  • Browner -- “I had the pitch, and I played it. He tossed the ball out for me to go get it. I saw it the whole way.”

What they said about pressuring Newton:

  • Newton -- “The offensive line did an excellent job. They gave me ample time. … Let’s call a cat a cat and a dog a dog -- they're a great defense.”

  • Browner -- “We had a great scheme tonight, and we played our scheme to a T. We prepared well for him and it showed.”

  • Rivera -- “They did some new things. They disguised their rush, and blitzing early was smart on their part. We had to watch for the defensive backs in the box after that. They did a nice job mixing it up.

  • Seahawks WR Sidney Rice -- “The defense has played good enough to win all year. All five games.”

  • Panthers LT Jordan Gross -- “Their defensive line is probably the best pass rush we’ve faced.”

Numbers you should know:  

The Seahawks had a time-of-possession advantage of 11:16 to 3:44 in the second quarter, but each team scored three points in the quarter.

The Panthers' average drive start in the first half was their 14. The Seahawks started at their 39.

Newton was sacked four times for a loss of 33 yards. He was only sacked nine times in the first four games.

Injury update: No injuries of note for either team. The Panthers were without three starters -- LB Jon Beason, Gamble and RG Geoff Hangartner, who were inactive.

Going forward: The Seahawks have a home game against the New England Patriots. The Panthers have a bye week, then face the Dallas Cowboys at home.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Carolina Panthers from blogger Shawn Krest, follow@CBSPanthers.