The 12 Yard Line

This is now the 12th edition of my column, and I can’t think of a better game to discuss. The Seahawks have propelled themselves into their second consecutive Super Bowl.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, just about everyone was expecting the Green Bay Packers to be representing the NFC in this year’s national championship. They were the dominant team for most of the game, but an important lesson to remember is that it doesn’t matter how you start a game, it’s how you finish.

The Packers had a comfortable 16-0 lead at halftime. Nothing could go right for the Seahawks, except that they managed to hold Green Bay to two field goals from within two yards of the endzone. Seattle finally got back into the game with a great pass from…Jon Ryan? That’s right. Seattle faked a field goal and had their punter roll out and deliver a touchdown pass to an offensive lineman for their first score of the day. Seattle’s primary passer Russell Wilson was having a day to forget as he threw four interceptions throughout the game.

Following another Green Bay field goal, the score was 19-7, a 12-point deficit. Sure seems like that number has a lot of meaning for the Seahawks. Coincidence? Who knows?
Wilson’s fourth interception seemed like it might have been the deciding factor, but the Seahawks never gave in. They got the ball back and made some big plays before Wilson ran it in himself for a short touchdown to cut the lead to five with just over two minutes to go.

Then one of the most miraculous plays happened. Seattle needed an onside kick to have any chance. The ball was in the air and bounced off a Packer’s helmet and into the hands of a Seahawk. In case you didn’t know, the conversion rate of onside kicks is very low. Marshawn Lynch eventually got a big run into the endzone to give Seattle their first lead of the day with 1:34 to go. But that wasn’t the most critical play; it was the one that came after. On a two-point conversion attempt, Wilson threw all the way across his body and somehow found Luke Willson to give them a threepoint lead. It was critical, because sure enough, the Packers managed to kick themselves a field goal and send the game into overtime.

All four of Wilson’s interceptions came on throws to Jermaine Kearse. Can someone say redemption? It was Kearse that hauled in the 35-yard pass from Wilson for the game winning touchdown. It was an epic game that will likely go down in history as one of the greatest games of championship weekend. It was a game that the Packers should have won. But it was a game that the resilient Seahawks won as just about every play in the final minutes went their way.

Seattle, looking for back-to-back championships, will play the New England Patriots, who defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 and are the last team to win back-to-back championships (’03-’04), in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.