Seahawks WR Golden Tate scored the only offensive touchdown in his team's 16-12 win over Carolina on Sunday. (US Presswire)

A 13-yard Golden Tate touchdown catch and three Steven Hauschka field goals were all Seattle needed to beat Carolina 16-12 on Sunday. The Seahawks' defense brought its "A" game -- both figuratively and literally because we actually gave them an "A." The defense limited Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to a career-low 141 yards passing. 

Offense: B 

Coach Pete Carroll said last week that as far as offensive play-calling goes, he has a "lid" on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Against the Panthers, Carroll loosened up the lid and let Wilson fire away. He responded by throwing for a career-high 221 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tate. On the negative end though, Wilson gave Carolina its only score of the day with a pick-sex to CB Captain Munnerlyn. The offense absolutely needs to score more points, but that's something that should come as Wilson becomes more comfortable under center. 

Previous game's grade: C-

Defense: A 

The Seahawk defense played its best game of the year, which is saying a lot for a unit that went into Sunday ranked second in the NFL. The defense basically won the game twice in the fourth quarter. First, with Seattle clinging to a 16-10 lead and under 5:30 left, the Seahawks kept Carolina out of the end zone when the Panthers had the ball second-and-goal from the 2-yard line. The second stop came with under a minute left when Newton and Carolina had the ball and one last shot to win. DE Bruce Irvin sealed the win when he stripped Newton. The Panthers were limited to 190 yards on the day and Newton threw for a career-low 141 yards. "When you know what guys are doing and you still can't beat them, they're just good at what they do," Newton said of the Seahawks' defense. 

Previous game's grade: B

Special teams: B+

Jon Ryan punted the ball three times on the day, but he made the most of them. Two of his punts pinned the Panthers inside of their own 10-yard line and the one that didn't was a booming 54-yarder. Hauschka had a solid day too, hitting all three field goals, including a pivotal 44-yarder in the fourth quarter. The only reason this isn't an "A" is because of KR Leon Washington's fumble to open the second half. The turnover could have been costly, but the Seahawks defense bailed Washington out by forcing a Carolina three-and-out. 

Previous game's grade: B- 

Coaching: B+

Carroll and the coaching staff have to be given credit for finally opening up the playbook for Wilson. With the more wide open play-calling, Wilson threw the ball further downfield more often than he had in the previous four weeks. The defensive gameplan was a masterpiece, as the Seahawks shut down Newton. 

Previous game's grade: B-

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Seahawks blogger John Breech follow @JohnBreech and @CBSSeahawks.