SEATTLE — In case anyone doubted that Pete Carroll and his Seahawks take this competition thing seriously, Michael Bowie served as a good reminder Saturday.
After a season of switching back and forth between James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan at left guard, the Seahawks went with neither of those players to open their postseason. Instead Bowie, a rookie seventh-round pick who had not played left guard this year, got the nod.
Carpenter, meanwhile, a former first-round pick, was a healthy inactive after starting 10 games this season.
“This was a classic competitive opportunity,” Carroll said. “We’ve been looking at our guys and how they’ve been playing, and (Bowie) has been playing. He has played really well. I think he has nine starts under his belt before today, and we just thought with the two weeks, if we gave him a shot, he might be ahead at the job at this time.”
Indeed the extra week of practice allowed Bowie to show his coaches that he was ready for the challenge, and on Monday he was told he would get the start. Bowie had previously started seven games this season at right tackle for an injured Breno Giacomini, then one game at right guard when J.R. Sweezy had a concussion.
“They gave me a full week of preparation, so I just had to switch my brain over to the left side and make that my focus,” Bowie said. “… I wouldn’t say I was stressing about it, I just put a bunch of time into it, and that was my main focus. I just made sure I got everything right.”
Carroll said his initial take is that Bowie played well, though film review will tell more, contributing to a 140-yard day for Marshawn Lynch.
“Offensive linemen can’t score, so that’s our touchdown right there,” Bowie said of Lynch’s 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. “That felt pretty good with the kickout (block). It’s just a crazy feeling. I can’t explain it.”