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'Lousy turf' played role in Panthers' big run, says Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks' first defensive play of Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers couldn't have gone much worse.

Running back Jonathan Stewart found some room up the middle, bounced to his right and raced downfield for a 59-yard gain before cornerback Richard Sherman brought him down.

On the day, the Panthers ran 41 times for 144 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. But Stewart's big run put them in position to strike first and go up 7-0.

"We gave up a big play, and [safety] Earl [Thomas] slipped and fell on the lousy turf," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll during his weekly appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle. "That’s how it happened. Normally that’d be a six or seven yard play."

Take the one big run away, and the Panthers averaged 2.1 yards per carry (40 rushes for 85 yards).

Of course, every team can play the "what if" game, and the big run did count.

But with the Panthers set to host the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game, the condition of the field at Bank of America Stadium will be a topic worth monitoring in the days ahead.