By Danny O’Neil
The biggest surprise entering Saturday’s playoff game isn’t just that third-year Seahawks guard James Carpenter was inactive, but who will be starting in his place.
Rookie Michael Bowie — who started seven games this season at right tackle — will start at left guard for the first time. He previously started one game at right guard when J.R. Sweezy was out because of a concussion.
That was the biggest surprise when the inactive players were announced 90 minutes before the game. New Orleans will be missing running back Pierre Thomas, who is inactive for the second consecutive playoff game because of a chest injury.
Carpenter was a first-round pick in 2011 and started his career at right tackle before suffering a season-ending knee injury during practice midway through his rookie season. He moved to left guard in 2012, but also finished that year on injured reserve. He split time at left guard this year, starting 11 regular-season games. Saturday’s playoff game is the first one he hasn’t been active for this year.
Bowie was a seventh-round draft pick from Northeastern State in Oklahoma, which he attended after being dismissed from the Oklahoma State team before the season began.
Seattle’s inactives: WR Bryan Walters, RB Christine Michael, LB K.J. Wright, OT Caylin Hauptmann, Carpenter, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill.
New Orleans’ inactives: QB Ryan Griffith, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Terrence Frederick, S Jordan Pugh, LB Rufus Johnson, DE Tyrunn Walker, WR Nick Toon.