The first conference championship game to be played had the Green Bay Packers traveling to Seattle to face the Seahawks. The Packers were coming off a 26-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys and the Seahawks were coming off a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Seahawks won the toss and deferred to the second half. Kicker Steven Hauschka sent the opening kickoff through the end zone and the Packers started their first drive at their 20-yard line. On third and six from the 24, the Seahawks jumped offside and that made it third and one. From the 29, running back Eddie Lacy ran up the left side for a gain of 13 and a first down at the 42. From the 42, Lacy got another carry for three yards. From the 45, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went deep for wide receiver Jordy Nelson. The pass was incomplete, but the Seahawks were flagged again. This time it was for having 12 men on the field. That moved the ball to the 50. Completions to wide receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams moved the ball to the 29. On third and ten, Rodgers looked for Adams in the end zone and the pass was picked off by cornerback Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks took over at their 20 and didn’t have possession of the ball very long. On third down from the 23, quarterback Russell Wilson attempted to hook up with wide receiver Jermaine Kearse across the middle. The pass hit Kearse in the hands and bounced into the hands of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He headed up the left sideline and was pushed out of bounds at the four-yard line. After the play was over, a flag appeared and defensive end Mike Daniels was flagged for taunting. That act of complete idiocy moved the ball back to the 19-yard line. A 12-yard completion to tight end Robert Rodgers and a six-yard run by Lacy moved the ball to the one-yard line. Carries by fullback John Kuhn and Lacy both came up short. That made it fourth and goal from inside the one. Instead of trying it one more time, head coach Mike McCarthy opted to go for a field goal attempt. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Why not try it again? Even if they didn’t make it, the Seahawks would be left with horrible field position. Kicker Mason Crosby came into the game and his 18-yard attempt was good. The Packers led 3-0 with 8:07 to go in the first quarter.
Things would get worse for the Seahawks on the kickoff. Return man Doug Baldwin fielded the kick and headed up the left side of the field. He was hit at the 22 and the ball came loose. It was recovered by safety Morgan Burnett at the 23 and the Packers had an excellent chance to increase their lead. Two carries by Lacy netted a first down at the seven-yard line. But the next two plays only gained one yard. On third goal from the six, Rodgers completed a pass to Cobb, but he was stopped short of the end zone. Once again, the Packers settled for a field goal attempt. Crosby’s 19-yard attempt was good and the Packers led 6-0 with 5:07 to go in the first quarter.
The Seahawks continued to struggle on offense and had a quick three and out. The Packers took over at their 44 and quickly moved into Seattle territory as Rodgers found Nelson for a gain of 15 yards. Carries by Lacy and Kuhn netted another first down at the Seattle 29-yard line. Another completion to Rodgers and a five-yard run by Lacy moved the ball to the 13. From the 13, Rodgers threw for the end zone and the pass was caught by Cobb for a touchdown. Crosby made the point after and the Packers led 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Seahawks still couldn’t get a first down on their next possession and punter Jon Ryan came on for another punt. It was fielded by return man Micah Hyde at the Green Bay 38 and returned 29 yards to the Seattle 33-yard line. On third and 13 from the 36, Rodgers threw a perfect pass across the middle that was dropped by Cobb. But yet another flag was thrown. This time, defensive end Cliff Avril was flagged for an illegal use of hands penalty. That gave the Packers a first down at the 31. Three straight running plays gained nine yards and we all know by now that McCarthy doesn’t go for it on fourth and short. Crosby came on for another field goal attempt. His 40-yard attempt was good and the Packers went up 16-0 with 9:37 to go in the second quarter.
The Seahawks took over at their 20-yard line and on first down, Wilson threw a pass into double coverage that was picked off again by Clinton-Dix at the Green Bay 32-yard line. The ball was returned to the Seattle 41-yard line. But during the return, another flag was thrown. Linebacker Clay Matthews was flagged for a blind side block on Wilson. The Packers kept the ball, but they would be starting at their 44 due to the penalty. After a 23-yard completion to Nelson, Rodgers was picked off on the next play by cornerback Byron Maxwell. The Seahawks regained possession of the ball at their 31-yard line. With 7:08 to go in the first half, the Seahawks finally managed to get a first down when running back Marshawn Lynch ran up the left side and was pushed out of bounds at the Green Bay 47-yard line. A carry by running back Robert Turbin, a short completion to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and another run by Lynch gave the Seahawks another first down at the 37. At the two-minute warning, the Seahawks were facing a third and eight from the 18-yard line. Wilson looked for Kearse in the end zone and the pass was picked off by cornerback Sam Shields. At halftime, the Packers led 16-0.
Neither team did anything with the ball on their first possessions of the second half. With 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, the Seahawks took over at their 22-yard line. From the 22, Wilson completed an eight-yard pass to fullback Will Tukuafu. An eight-yard pass to Baldwin and two runs by Lynch moved the ball to the Green Bay 39. A false start penalty moved them back five yards. From the 44, Wilson was sacked for a loss of 15 by Matthews. Lynch got the call on the next play and gained 11 yards. That set up a third and 19 from the Green Bay 48. The Packers rushed three and dropped eight men back into “coverage.” Wilson had ALL DAY to find a receiver and he finally found one. Standing all by his lonesome was Baldwin. He made the catch and was dragged down at the 19-yard line. What kind of defense was that? You dropped eight guys back and yet a receiver was still able to get wide open. Unbelievable. After that horrible display of defense, the Packers stiffened and the Seahawks ran three plays for zero yards. On fourth and ten from the 19, Hauschka came on for a 37-yard field goal attempt. When the ball was snapped to Ryan, he picked the ball up and headed up the left side. Then he threw for the end zone where the ball was caught by offensive lineman Clint Gresham. Hauschka made the point after and the Packers now led 16-7.
That touchdown got the quiet crowd back into the game and the Packers had a quick three and out. The Seahawks followed suit and the Packers got the ball back at their 13-yard line. Two runs by Lacy and a 32-yard run by running back James Starks had the Packers in Seattle territory again. A false start moved them back five yards, but they continued to run the ball well. However, the drive would stall at the 30. Once again, Crosby was brought into the game and his 38-yard field goal attempt was good. With 10:53 to go in the game, the Packers led 19-7.
The Seahawks were able to get a couple of first downs on their next drive, but ended up punting again. The Packers took over at their 13 in hopes of getting a few first downs and killing the clock. That didn’t happen. They ran three plays, gained six yards and only took 1:40 off the clock. Punter Tim Masthay punted the ball away and the Seahawks regained possession at their 46-yard line. They wouldn’t have the ball very long because Wilson was picked off for the fourth time. This time it was Burnett. He picked the ball off and instead of trying to get a big return, immediately went down at the Green Bay 43-yard line. The Seahawks forced another three and out and with 3:52 to go in the game, they had the ball at their 31-yard line.
From the 31, Lynch ran up the middle for a gain of 14 yards. That was followed by a 20-yard completion to Baldwin. From the Green Bay 35, Wilson tossed a short pass to Lynch who appeared to take it all the way for a touchdown. But it was ruled that he stepped out of bounds at the nine-yard line. A run by Lynch and a scramble by Wilson set up a third and goal from the one-yard line. Wilson took the snap, faked to Lynch and took it into the end zone for a touchdown. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks trailed 19-14 with 2:09 to go in the game.
All the Seahawks could do now was hope to recover an onside kick. Hauschka kicked the ball up the right side and it bounced off of Packer tight end Brandon Bostick into the arms of wide receiver Chris Matthews. The Seahawks took over at the 50 and Wilson scrambled for 15 yards. A short run by Lynch and a pass to tight end Luke Willson netted a first down at the Green Bay 24-yard line. From the 24, Lynch got the call again and he made it all way to the end zone for a touchdown. Leading 20-19, the Seahawks decided to go for two. Wilson took the snap and immediately was pressured. He ran to the right side of the field and heaved up a prayer across his body. There were two defenders around Willson, yet somehow he came up with the ball and the two-point conversion was good. With 1:25 to go in the game, the Seahawks led 22-19.
The Packers had three timeouts and got the ball back at their 22-yard line. Completions to Nelson and Cobb quickly moved the ball to the Seattle 38-yard line. The drive would stall at the 30 as Nelson was stopped short of the first down marker on third and ten. Crosby came on again for a 48-yard attempt. With the rain and swirling winds, this would indeed be a difficult kick. But Crosby had no problem making it and the score was tied 22-22 with 14 seconds left. Wilson took a knee and the game was headed into overtime.
The Seahawks won the toss and elected to receive. The kickoff coverage for the Packers was good and Baldwin was quickly brought down at the 13-yard line. From the 13, Lynch ran for four yards. That was followed by a ten-yard pass to Baldwin and a first down at the 27. Lynch got the call on the next play and rushed for four more yards. Wilson was sacked for a loss of one on the next play and that set up a third and seven from the 30. Wilson had plenty of time to find a receiver and he hooked up with Baldwin for a gain of 35 and a first down at the Green Bay 35-yard line. On the next play, Wilson looked for Kearse and connected with him for a touchdown. With that, the game was over. The Seahawks overcame a 16-point deficit and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with a 28-22 win.
For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers completed 19 of 34 for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Randall Cobb led the team in receptions with seven and Jordy Nelson had the most receiving yards with 71. Eddie Lacy led the way on the ground with 73 yards on 21 carries. As a team, the Packers rushed for 135 yards on 30 carries. Defensively, safety Morgan Burnett had a solid game with eight solo tackles, two sacks, three tackles for a loss, an interception and a fumble recovery.
For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson completed 14 of 29 for 209 yards, one touchdown pass, one touchdown run and four interceptions. Doug Baldwin led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 106. Marshawn Lynch had a great day carrying the ball and ended up with 157 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. As a team, the Seahawks rushed for 194 yards on 35 carries. Defensively, cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane tied for the lead in solo tackles with five apiece.
Up next for the Seahawks is a trip to the Super Bowl to face the winner of the Colts-Patriots game.