Seahawks’ D Comes Through Again
So many strange things happened in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, and then Richard Sherman opened his mouth in the post-game interview with Erin Andrews.
We won’t go there.
Outside of Sherman’s rant and some questionable officiating at times, it was one of the best championship games played in a while. In the end, it was Seattle’s top-ranked defense that made the play to win the game, with a pass-breakup-turned-interception in the waning seconds, with the 49ers driving, down six.
The Seahawks actually forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter, but could not capitalize with points as well as they should have. Otherwise, Seattle would not have to depend on the last-minute interception to hang on and win. Sherman tipped a pass in the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree, and Malcolm Smith caught the ball for an interception, winning the game for the Seahawks.
That play may have sealed the win for Seattle, but the one that gave them the lead was just as big. Seattle faced a fourth-and-7 at the 49ers’ 35 in the fourth. Some confusion on the Seattle sideline with their field goal kicker forced Pete Carroll to call time out, and during the break he decided to go for it. The plan was for Russell Wilson to try and draw the 49ers offside with a hard count. If they bit, a possible “free play” would result, giving the Seahawks a chance for new life in the drive. It worked. Wilson recognized the free play situation and made a perfect deep pass to Jermaine Kearse in the end zone for a 20-17 lead.
Seattle would never trail again.
Perhaps as entertaining as the game was watching San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and his temper tantrums on the sideline when calls were not going his way. Granted, Harbaugh had several calls where he had a case. But he’s definitely not a guy that most fans will root for.
Thank goodness the football gods took care of some of Harbaugh’s source of frustrations, or officiating would have been the topic of conversation all week instead of the great ending. It happened on a Seattle fourth down at the 49ers one-yard line that clearly should have been San Francisco’s ball one play earlier on a fumble. An odd rule that prevented any review of the play kept the ball with Seattle, but they fumbled the ball back to the Niners on the fourth down.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 109 yards on 22 carries for Seattle, including a 40-yard scamper to tie the game in the third quarter. Russell Wilson threw for 215 yards and one TD.
This will mark Seattle’s second-ever trip to the Super Bowl, having lost to Pittsburgh in January, 2006. That game was also in a cold-weather city – Detroit. But they have a dome in Motown.
So no worries about focusing on the bad officiating sending Seattle to the Super Bowl. Instead the debate will swirl about Seattle’s defense vs. the Broncos’ offense, will a blizzard wreck havoc with the Super Bowl in New York, and which quarterback is more media-friendly.
And, does anyone think Richard Sherman will get any questions on Media Day? No doubt. Did you know that he graduated second in his high school class and has a communications degree from Stanford? He also has begun work on a master’s degree. Smart cookie. With a big mouth.