CHARLOTTE (AP) - After a close second half, the Panthers held on to the lead and managed to be the Seattle Seahawks, 31-24.
"It was excruciating to watch," Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton said about watching the defense hold onto the lead in the second half. "It was a tale of two halves. We gotta be better than that."
Carolina (16-1) will host Arizona (14-3) next week for a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks showed signs of life in the 2nd half, going to a hurry-up, no-huddle offense and opening the third quarter with a pair of Russell Wilson touchdown passes -- 16 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 33 yards to Tyler Lockett to trim the Carolina lead to 31-14.
The Panthers have surrendered some big leads already this season against Indianapolis, Green Bay and the New York Giants. They held on to win all of those games.
The biggest blown lead was against the Giants when they gave up a 35-7 lead in the third quarter after surrendering four touchdowns. It took Graham Gano's field goal in the closing seconds to seal the 38-35 win.
At the end of the 1st half, the Seahawks trailed the Panthers 31-0 at the end of the second quarter. The largest lead the Seahawks have ever overcome was 21 points against Tampa Bay in a regular season game in 2013.
Greg Olsen added a 19-yard TD to put the Panthers up 31-0. Seattle missed a field goal at the end of the 2nd half to remain scoreless.
Running back Jonathan Stewart, back from a foot injury, has two touchdowns, becoming the first Carolina player to run for multiple touchdowns in a postseason game.
The Panthers outgained Seattle 155-25 in the first quarter and had eight first downs to Seattle's one.