The Seahawks could not have possibly had a worse start to their divisional-round loss to the Panthers last week, throwing two picks and allowing two defensive touchdowns and falling behind 21-0 in the first 15 minutes. And, at least to some extent, Pete Carroll blamed the grass.
Speaking of the Panthers’ very first play from scrimmage, a 59-yard rush by Jonathan Stewart, Carroll said,
“We gave up a big play, and Earl [Thomas] slipped and fell on the lousy turf. That’s how it happened. Normally that’d be a six or seven yard play.”
Both teams looks to be having trouble with traction, and the field conditions were noted multiple times early in the broadcast. The Cardinals, heading to Charlotte on Sunday, would do well to take note. When they arrived at their training facility earlier this week, Cardinals players found this letter taped up to their lockers:
The Cardinals traveled to Charlotte in last year’s playoffs, and players this week recalled that the turf was noticeably soft and wet. But, they noted, it’s the same for both teams so it’s not an unfair advantage. Except the Panthers have experience picking the right cleats—and now the Cardinals will start out with the right gear too.
“What I’m doing is, I got the seven studs, the cleats,” running back David Johnson said. “They’re a longer cleat for me to be able to grip the ground better.”
It could still be a slog. It’s going to rain and snow in Charlotte for the next day or so, and though they’ve covered the field with a tarp, there won’t be much time for it to dry out before the Sunday 6:40 p.m. kickoff.