The Seahawks redefined resiliency Sunday night with late heroics from Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the special teams unit, lifting the No. 1 team in the NFC to a Super Bowl berth after a 28-22 overtime win.
Seattle clinched an opportunity to defend its title in two weeks thanks to a potent overtime drive, one that saw Wilson toss two deep balls, the second a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kerse to seize the dramatic victory.
Seattle overcame a 16-0 halftime deficit and scored on a fake field goal, a Russell Wilson goal line scamper and a Lynch touchdown sprint following a successful onside kick to finish an improbable comeback — the largest in NFL postseason history. The team even converted a two-point attempt prior to the Packers’ final march to put a game-winning field goal out of the question.
Here’s why Metro thinks the Seahawks prevailed:
1. Resilient Russell
Seahawks quarterback Russell threw four interceptions and at one point had a quarterback rating of 7.0 late in the second half. But he hung tough, gaining confidence back as the game progressed and eventually using his legs to get Seattle back in the game.
He used his arm too, putting the bitter deficiencies of his early-game setbacks somewhere out of mind to pass Seattle down the field with the game tied at 22-all after the team won the overtime coin flip.
2. Special teams specialty
It was two special teams plays that got the Seahawks their incredible comeback. First, a touchdown pass frompunter John Ryan (the first and only punter to throw for a postseason touchdown) on a fake field goal in the third quarter that got Seattle on the board for the first time.
After sound defense kept Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in check in the second half, Seattle’s kickoff unit recovered a perfectly executed onside kick to set up a Lynch touchdown run a few plays later to give Seattle a 22-19 lead.
Though the Packers were able to tie the game with a field goal before time expired in the first 60 minutes, there is little doubt the Seahawks would have suffered a much different fate had their special teams unit played a mundane game.
3. The beast is back
The Packers and their devoted fans surely feel like lightning has struck. Or perhaps like running back Lynch give them a violent stiff arm — something the power running back did often with his downhill running style Sunday against Green Bay.
Lynch ran for 157 yards on 25 carries, the most important of these a 24-yard bolt to give the Seahawks their first lead late in the fourth quarter.
With both quarterbacks struggling (they threw for a combined six interceptions) the run game was key for both teams. The Packers ran for 135 yards while Seattle paired Lynch’s power with Russell’s quick thinking, the QB adding 25 yards to the Seahawks total of 194 yards on the ground.