NFL 2014-2015 Conference Title Games Recap
Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks was the NFC Title Game. Aaron Rodgers had the Packers driving and fired the end zone for what looked like a touchdown. At the last moment Richard Sherman did what he does, resulting in an interception and a touchback. Russell Wilson threw a simple pass that bounced right off the receiver’s hands and into the arms of Haha Clinton-Dix for an interception the other way. Clinton-Dix returned the ball inside the Seattle 5 yard line. John Kuhn was given a touchdown on 2nd down but on further review he was ruled short. Another run on 3rd and goal still did not get in. On 4th and goal at the one, Mike McCarthy had had enough. Mason Crosby kicked the field goal for the 3-0 Packers lead.
Despite the goal line stand, the Seattle defense was back on the field when the Seahawks fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Despite taking over at the Seattle 23, the Packers again could not punch it in. On 3rd and goal at the 6, a West Coast Offense dink and dunk pass meant 4th and goal at the one. Again Mike McCarthy went for the field goal as Crosby put the Cheeseheads up 6-0. The Packers got it back at their own 44. They soon faced another 3rd and 1 and this time they went up the gut for the first down. On the last play of the first quarter Rodgers threw a 13 yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb for a 13-0 Packers lead in front of a stunned home crowd.
Things got worse for Seattle in the second quarter when the Packers returned a punt to the Seattle 37. Seattle was hit with several defensive penalties in the first half. On 3rd and 13 from the Seattle 36, Rodgers threw incomplete but defensive illegal use of hands kept the drive going. Crosby’s 40 yarder was dead center as the Packers led 16-0. Wilson then went for the bomb and was intercepted again by Clinton-Dix as the Packers took over at their own 44. Just when it looked like the Packers were turning out the lights, Rodgers was intercepted by Byron Maxwell. Seattle drove down the field and Wilson went to the end zone again. For the third time on the day Wilson was intercepted for another touchback just past the 2 minute warning.
In the third quarter both teams punted on 4th and 1. Seattle moved to the Green Bay 39, went backward, and soon faced 2nd and 30. On 3rd and 19 from the Green Bay 48, Wilson threw a high pass but Doug Baldwin made a leaping catch for a 29 yard gain. On 4th and 10 from the Packers 19, Pete Carroll called for a fake field goal. It was executed to perfection as Ryan found Gilliam in the end zone. With 5 minutes left in the third quarter the Seahawks were finally on the board down 16-7.
The Packers began the fourth quarter moving the ball well again looking to put the game away. They drove to a 2nd and 7 at the Seattle 30. after just missing on the home run ball, the Packers settled for Crosby’s fourth field goal from 48 as the Packers led 19-7 with 11 minutes left in regulation. The Seahawks never got going on offense. With 5 minutes left Wilson had another pass bounce off a receiver’s hands on a day when several of his passes were dropped. This deflection became Wilson’s fourth interception.
The Seahawks defense fought to the end, getting the ball back quickly. With 3 minutes left, Wilson appeared to throw a 35 yard touchdown pass to Marshawn Lynch. The call was reversed since Lynch stepped out of bounds at the 8 yard line. On 3rd and goal at the one, Wilson faked to Lynch and practically walked in the end zone. With 2:10 to play the Seahawks clung to life down by 5. The home crowd went crazy when the Seahawks recovered a perfectly executed onside kick at midfield.
Wilson gained 15 yards and Seattle was at the Green Bay 32 at the 2 minute warning. They didn’t even have time to milk the clock. Marconi Lynch raced for a 24 yard touchdown. On the 2 point conversion try Wilson was about to be sacked. He threw a duck across his body across the field that Luke Wilson somehow came down with. The Seahawks led by a field goal but there was still 1:25 remaining.
The Packers took over at their own 22 with all 3 timeouts. A pair of completions and a 12 yard scramble by Rodgers had the Packers at the Seattle 36 with 35 seconds left. On 4th and 4 from the 30 with 19 seconds left, Crosby came in for a 48 yard field goal. With all the pressure in the world on him, Crosby leveled his fifth field goal. The emotional roller coaster was tied 22-22 and headed for overtime. This game had everything but Matt Hasselbeck saying, “We want the ball and we’re going to score.”
Seattle got the ball in overtime at their own 13. On 3rd and 7 from the Seattle 30, Wilson went deep to Doug Baldwin for a 35 yard gain. After all day of watching receivers drop balls, when it mattered most the offense came through. On the next play Wilson went deep to Jermain Kearse for a 35 yard touchdown. Aaron Rodgers never got the ball in overtime. This was the greatest collapse in Packers playoff history and the greatest comeback in Seahawks playoff history. Seattle is going to their second straight Super Bowl. This was a game for the ages. This game is why we love football. 28-22 Seahawks, OT
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots was the AFC Title Game. Despite the Colts hitting Denver in the mouth last week in Denver and causing the Broncos organization to implode, the Colts were still underdogs to New England. Asking them to beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in successive weeks was a lot to ask even though the Jets did a few years ago. The Patriots were expected to win easily, and early on the script played to form.
The Colts fumbled a punt and the Patriots recovered at the Colts 26. LeGuarrette Blount crashed in from the one to make it 7-0 Patriots. The Colts came back and reached a 1st and 10 at the Patriots 33. Andrew Luck then threw 3 straight incompletions and former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri missed the 51 yard field goal. Brady then threw a 30 yard completion to Shane Vereen to set up a one yard touchdown pass to Develin for a 14-0 Patriots lead.
The Patriots looked to put the game away before halftime as Brady led the Patriots to the Indy 26. Brady went deep and was intercepted at the one yard line by Daquel Jackson. The Colts took over at their own 7. Luck led them 93 yards and Tipton got in from the one as the Colts only trailed 14-7 with 5 minutes left in the half.
The Patriots moved down the field and faced 4th and 1 at the Colts 4 with 28 seconds left. Bill Bellichick went for it and Brady got the yard. He got nothing else as 3 incompletions had the Patriots settling for a 21 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a 17-7 halftime lead. In the third quarter the Patriots moved 87 yards easily. On 3rd and 1 from the Colts 16, Brady found Solder for the touchdown to make it 24-7 Patriots. As hard rain came down, this game was the Patriots coronation it was expected to be. New England got it back and Brady’s third touchdown pass was a six-yard laser to Rob Gronkowski. Andrew Luck then had an interception returned by Darrelle Revis 30 yards to the Indy 13. One play later Blount got in for another touchdown. With the Patriots up 38-7, the fourth quarter was just a formality. 45-7 Patriots
Super Bowl XLVIII (48) is set. Kickoff is a little bit after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, February 1st. The game will be played in Glendale, Arizona near Phoenix. The Patriots played the Super Bowl in that stadium seven years ago only to see their perfect season go up in smoke.
The Seahawks had never won a Super Bowl until last year. Now they are looking to be the first team since the 2003-2004 Patriots to win two in a row. Tom Brady is going to his sixth Super Bowl, an NFL record. Bill Bellichick is going to his sixth Super Bowl as a head coach in addition to the two Super Bowls he won as a Defensive Coordinator under Bill Parcells.
New England brings one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Seattle brings one of the all-time great defenses, the Legion of Boom.
Earlier this season the Patriots were 2-2 and coming off a 27-point thrashing. There was talk of benching Brady, that he was done. Seattle began 3-3 and the talk was that their locker room was divided. Both of these teams showed what makes a champion.
The AFC New England Patriots and the NFC Seattle Seahawks are the 2014-2015 NFL Conference Champions. One more game determines who wins the Vince Lombardi Trophy.