Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown 3:19 into overtime to lift the Seattle Seahawks to an improbable 28-22 victory over Green Bay and into a second straight Super Bowl.
The Seahawks became the first defending champion to make the Super Bowl in 10 years, and will play the New England Patriots, who downed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship game.
“The will and the drive of these men is unbelievable,” Wilson said. “We always find a way to finish.”
Outplayed much of Sunday and plagued by five turnovers, the Seahawks (14-4) trailed 16-7 with 2:09 remaining in the NFC championship game. That’s when Wilson ran 1 yard for a TD.
“You have the belief these guys have in one another, there is nothing you can’t do,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Seattle recovered a bobbled onside kick at the 50, and Marshawn Lynch sped and powered his way to a 24-yard TD run. Wilson’s desperate 2-point conversion pass was hauled in by Luke Willson to make it 22-19.
But Aaron Rodgers led the Packers (13-5) to Mason Crosby’s fifth field goal, from 48 yards with 14 seconds to go.
Then Wilson and Kearse struck.
Kearse, who has caught touchdown passes in four straight postseason games, and several other Seahawks leapt into the stands behind the end zone after the win, saluting the stadium-record crowd of 68,538. Wilson ran through cameramen to jump on Kearse’s back, and defensive end Michael Bennett borrowed a bicycle from a police officer and rode around the edge of the field.
Brady leads Patriots
Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and LeGarrette Blount ran in three more lead New England over Indianapolis at Foxborough, Massachusetts.
“I know we’ve had some ups and downs this year,” Brady said, “but right now we’re up, baby, and we’re going to try to stay up for one more game.”
The Patriots won their eighth AFC championship — their sixth under Brady and coach Bill Belichick. They will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1.
New England (14-4) opened a 14-point lead in the first half and then broke it open in a driving rain with three third-quarter touchdowns and another to start the fourth. That made it the second-most lopsided game in AFC championship history.
Brady completed 23 of 35 passes for 226 yards. Blount ran 30 times for 148 yards.
Quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts have a long wait for their next game. The No. 1 draft choice in 2012 had the worst performance of his career and the fourth rout in his four games against the Patriots, all by at least three touchdowns. He completed 12 of 33 passes for 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
“It’s hard to find much good (in the season) fresh off this game,” Luck said. “We had our sights set higher.”
In his first season as a starter in 2001, Brady led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win, starting a run of three championships in four years. Now he and Belichick have a chance for their first in 10 years.
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