Panthers' Mike Tolbert: Some players 'wanted Seattle'
The Panthers may have stumbled in the regular season, but they aren't short on confidence now.
Some players are looking forward to playing the defending champion Seahawks on Saturday, too.
"There's some guys in here that actually wanted to play Seattle," Tolbert said. "As a competitor, you want to beat the best. They're king of the hill."
Carolina became the first NFL team to go more than two months without a victory and reach the playoffs. The Panthers won the NFC South despite a 7-8-1 record. And last Saturday, a defense that gave up 35 or more points in four of its first seven games held Arizona to 78 yards in the wild-card round, the fewest ever allowed in the NFL postseason.
Safety Roman Harper said he wasn't expecting this type of adventure in his first season in Carolina. The Panthers visit Seattle (12-4) on Saturday with a trip to the NFC championship game on the line.
"It isn't the prettiest thing, but we got a date to the prom at the end of the day," Harper said, laughing. "We're here. She's probably not the best-looking one; she's not going to win prom queen, but we'll have a good time."
The Panthers aren't apologizing for their record.
In fact, in some ways they believe the season has toughened them and left them playoff ready.
They had to win their last four games just to get into the playoffs, and a fifth last week.
Odds are against them making it six in a row, but odds have seemed to be against them all season.
--With the Associated Press