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Seahawks cap epic comeback with OT win over Packers for return trip to Super Bowl

The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson celebrates after an

The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson celebrates after an overtime win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-22 to advance to Super Bowl XLIX. Photo Credit: AP / Ted S. Warren

SEATTLE - Usually players score touchdowns and then dance.

Jermaine Kearse did the opposite.

When the Seahawks wide receiver saw the Packers' defensive alignment and the one-on-one coverage, when he heard quarterback Russell Wilson checking out of a play, when he realized while standing at the line of scrimmage that the game was going to end in a matter of seconds, he said he broke out into a dance.

Maybe not physically, but in his head.

It turned out to be an appropriate response. Especially after Kearse caught the deep post pass with cornerback Tramon Williams on his back for a 35-yard touchdown just 3:19 into overtime to give Seattle a thrilling 28-22 win over the Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field.

The touchdown capped a frantic final 51/2 minutes in which the Seahawks scored three touchdowns and won with one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, overcoming a 16-point third-quarter deficit.

Teams have rebounded from deeper holes in conference title games -- the Colts were down 18 before beating the Patriots in 2007, the 49ers trailed the Falcons by 17 two years ago -- but none of those teams played 58 minutes of moribund football before exploding for 21 points in five-plus minutes.

"The game started off kind of ugly," said Wilson, who threw four interceptions, "but those last three minutes and the overtime was probably as good of a game as you can get. It doesn't get any better than that."

So it turns out the reign hasn't stopped in drizzly Seattle just yet.

The Seahawks will attempt to become the first back-to-back Super Bowl winners since the 2004 Patriots when they face the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Arizona.

Of course, there are two sides to every comeback. And on the opposite side of this one was the frustration of the Packers, who were a handful of plays away from going to the Super Bowl themselves.

They had to settle for field goals from the 1-yard line twice in the first quarter after having a first-and-goal at the 7 each time. They had an onside kick recovery go through the hands of tight end Brandon Bostick late in the game, and even the usually flawless Aaron Rodgers threw a pair of interceptions. "We gave it away," Rodgers said.

That should have been the line from Wilson, whose four interceptions were the most by a winning quarterback in a title game since the Oilers' George Blanda threw five in the 1961 AFL Championship Game against the Chargers. He said he'd never thrown four picks in a game in his life until Sunday.

"I think we had to go get it," Wilson said in response to Rodgers' comment. "I thought we took it."

The Seahawks hadn't even scored an offensive point until Wilson ran in from the 1 with 2:09 left in regulation. (Seattle's first touchdown came on a fake field goal as holder Jon Ryan threw a 19-yard TD pass to offensive tackle Garry Gilliam.)

Wilson's TD run cut Green Bay's lead to 19-14, and after Chris Matthews recovered the onside kick, Seattle went ahead on Marshawn Lynch's 24-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left. Wilson then floated a ridiculous two-point conversion pass that appeared to be in the air forever to Luke Willson, making it 22-19 for a team that could do nothing right for nearly 58 minutes and then could do nothing wrong.

"To be honest, that's not even part of the play," said Willson, who was a backside blocker until Wilson rolled away from pressure and flung the ball toward him. "It was like a made-up thing. I saw the ball in the air and I was like, 'Oh, wow!' I bet if we ran that 100 times, one time I would get the ball."

The Packers tied the score with 14 seconds left on Mason Crosby's fifth field goal -- a 48-yarder -- to send the game to overtime, but the Seahawks won the toss and Green Bay never got the ball back.

The Seahawks saw similarities between their season and this game. They were counted out by many when they were 3-3, but they were able to come back.

Winning a second straight Super Bowl won't be easy, especially if they are without two of their key defensive contributors.

Cornerback Richard Sherman injured his left elbow and played with his arm folded in like a wounded bird. Safety Earl Thomas dislocated his shoulder. Both played through pain, and both vowed to be on the field in two weeks in Arizona.

As Sherman said of Sunday's game, which also can be superimposed on the season and the Super Bowl: "I'm not going to let my teammates down. We didn't battle this far [to stop]. I might as well give them until the last second."

The last second, and then some.

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