Schlosser’s NFC Championship Spotlight
Insane. Utterly insane.
With about four minutes left in the game, Russell Wilson threw his fourth interception. The Packers led 19-7. They’d caused five total turnovers and just crushed Wilson all day long.
Game over, I said. A ball bouncing into the air, a fourth pick, a two-score game. The way Green Bay had been playing—they led 16-0 at the half—made that moment feel like the end.
I could not have been more wrong. It’s never over until that final whistle. It’s cliché and everyone always says it and this game proved why it is so, so true. It’s never over until it’s over.
Seattle fought back, Lynch caught a long pass down the field, and Wilson ran it in for a score with just over two minutes to go. They went onside, and the ball went through Brandon Bostick’s hands, hit him in the face, and was snagged by Seattle. Two minutes, down by five, but in control.
They didn’t even need all of it. With about 1:25 remaining, Marshawn Lynch ran it in from 24 yards out for his first score of the day—he finished with 157 yards—to take a 22-19 lead. This Seattle team that had been outplayed all day long, now leading. It almost felt unreal.
Aaron Rodgers played tough, bringing Green Bay down on the next drive. One of the grittiest plays of the game was a simple 12-yard run, but you could tell he could barely hobble along as he did it. Putting it all on the line. A short catch a few plays later brought them in for a 48-yard field goal that sent the game into overtime.
Then Seattle won the toss, and that was it. They were on fire now, not about to let this victory be stolen at home, not after what they’d just had to do to claw back into it. Wilson, who had been terrible, suddenly found his stride. He hit Doug Baldwin for 10 yards, then, a few plays later, hit him again for 35 more. That was on a critical 3rd-and-seven.
The very next play, Jermaine Kearse got the inside step on Tramon Williams, and Wilson hit him for 35 yards and a touchdown. Game over. Seattle, back to the Super Bowl.
This is why the playoffs are unlike anything else. What an improbable, unpredictable ending. It doesn’t get crazier than that, and on all fronts: First, Green Bay’s defense playing out of their minds, forcing Wilson into four picks when he only had seven all year long. Then Wilson stepping up at the last moment, grasping at straws, and leading his team back with a bomb for his first touchdown of the game, winning in OT.
If this doesn’t get Seattle fired up for another Super Bowl, I don’t know what will. That had to be one of the most emotional games they’ve ever played in. You could see it on Wilson’s face as he cried and tried to do his post-game interview at the same time.
The players would never admit it, but you know they also thought it was over when I did. They’ll say “We just kept believing in ourselves” and a lot of other things like that, but that’s not how it is. You keep trying, but you can feel it when a game is slipping away. They felt it, especially on that last interception, when it looked like Green Bay had a shot to just run the clock out.
When you overcome that in such dramatic fashion, it’s like nothing else. We haven’t had a repeat Super Bowl Champ since the Patriots did it, but Seattle’s going to have a run at it. And, if it’s anything like that game tonight, it’s going to be epic from beginning to end.