After running for 2.0 yards per carry in Week 17, Arizona gained just 40 yards off 19 totes in Saturday's playoff win over the Packers. Those results are a steep downturn for a team that finished the year as the eighth best team on the ground.
Arians, though, won't point fingers at rookie back David Johnson, who averaged an outrageous 149.8 total yards per game from weeks 13 to 16 before tumbling to just 68.5 yards per outing over the recent two-game swoon.
"It's not anything David is doing," Arians said. "There's just not a lot of holes there and we have to do a better job. It's a tough challenge this week (against Carolina)."
Arians is right. The Panthers bottled up Marshawn Lynch on Sunday with a smothering front seven that pulled the plug on Seattle's ground game and gave quarterback Russell Wilson all sorts of problems in the pocket. The defensive tackle combination of Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short were especially damaging to Seattle's plans.
"They're really good," said right guard Mike Iupati. "Us O-line guys, we know what we've got to do. Just go there and open holes for David or whoever is in the backfield, and protect the quarterback. Block better, block longer, stay on your guy. It's no secret."