Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse never minds seeing the stout secondary of the Carolina Panthers line up across from him.
Kearse, the Lakes High School and University of Washington product, scored his first NFL touchdown against the Panthers in the 2013 season opener — a 43-yard pass from Russell Wilson early in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ 12-7 victory.
And in last season’s NFC divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field, Kearse hauled in a 63-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. He had three receptions for a career-high 129 yards in Seattle’s 31-17 win.
The two teams face off again Sunday in Seattle.
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Yet, Carolina’s defense has put the clamps on opposing passing games this season. The Panthers allow a 64.1 passer rating, third-lowest in the NFL, and are one of five teams with more interceptions (eight) than touchdown passes allowed (four).
Cornerback Josh Norman leads the league with four interceptions, including two returns for touchdowns. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the fourth-year player should have six.
“They are killing it, picking off (passes) at a great rate,” Carroll said.
Kearse said Carolina has one of the most physical defenses he’s ever faced — one he has had success against, too.
Kearse scored his first touchdown of the season last week against Cincinnati. And he has been known to score touchdowns in bunches. Six of his career 10 touchdowns have come in back-to-back games.
“That is what I am hoping,” Kearse said. “They usually do come in bunches. Hopefully this is one of those instances.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442