Recapping the victories from the Seahawks and Patriots with eyes towards Super Bowl XLIX
The New Englad Patriots will face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX (Photo: Hookem3434)
By Kyle Hutchison / Follow Kyle on TWITTER for live updates during Super Bowl XLIX
Another championship weekend has come and gone with its share of fireworks. We witnessed a dominating performance by the New England Patriots and another incredible NFC championship game involving a come-from-behind victory from the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFC championship game began with a surprisingly dominant first half by the Green Bay Packers and no one would have guessed that the visiting teams would have had a 16-0 lead at halftime over the defending Super Bowl champions.
You’ve got to give the Seattle’s defense credit for holding a dangerous Packers offense to 16 points with Russell Wilson throwing three interceptions in the first half. The Packers had four drives into Seattle territory that ended with three field goals, a touchdown, and an interception in the end zone.
The Seahawks didn’t score a point until their punter Jon Ryan threw a touchdown pass on a fake field goal to backup offensive lineman Garry Gilliam in the third quarter. Ryan becomes the first punter in playoff history to throw a touchdown pass.
In the fourth quarter, Seattle was down 19-7 with less than four minutes left in the game. Wilson led Seattle down the field to score a quick touchdown to come within five points, 19-14.
Then came a monumental special teams blunder by the Packers when backup tight end Brandon Bostick attempted to catch the onside kick, but it bounced off his facemask and Seattle recovered with excellent field position and over two minutes to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Marshawn Lynch broke a 24-yard run to take a one point lead four plays later. Seattle decided to go for two and after a horrible attempt to deflect the pass by rookie safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, who also had 2 interceptions in the game, they took a three point lead with one minute and 25 seconds left.
Aaron Rodgers led a heroic drive to tie the game up and send it to overtime, but Seattle had all the momentum. Seattle won the toss, received the ball and scored on a beautiful touchdown pass by Wilson to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. The win was incredibly emotional for quarterback Russell Wilson as seen in his post game interview.
How do you follow a game like that? The AFC championship featured much intrigue between the two quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Tom Brady. But, it was all Brady and the Patriots as they dominated the Colts 45-7.
The Patriots used the same tactic that worked against them in their regular season matchup by riding a power run game to wear down the thin defensive line of the Colts. Running back LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns while Brady threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns.
The real story of this game was 3rd down conversions by the Patriots. Wide receiver Julian Edelman helped the Patriots convert 12 of 18 third downs, keeping the Colts defense on the field and tiring them out. Their game plan worked to perfection as New England had five drives of eight or more plays.
Anytime a defense is out on the field for over 37 minutes in a 60 minute game, you’re in trouble. Their exhaustion was evident on a 2nd and one when Tom Brady rushed for four yards on a quarter back sneak.
Brady added to his record for most playoff wins by a starting quarterback (20) and passed Peyton Manning with the most passing yards in playoff history (7,017). Brady keeps adding more records to his already legendary career and can add another super bowl victory in two weeks when they play the Seahawks in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 1.
Kyle Hutchison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org