If you are a Green Bay Packers fan, today is a sad, sad day for you. My deepest condolences.
For the first 55 minutes of the NFC Conference Championship, the Packers dominated the Seattle Seahawks. Green Bay scored 16 points in the first half of the game and held the Seahawks to zero until late in the third. Russell Wilson threw four interceptions -- yes, FOUR -- and didn't even complete a pass until halfway into the second quarter. Green Bay had 193 yards of offense in the first half. Seattle had 49.
The momentum began to change when the Seahawks managed to score a touchdown on this fake field goal attempt.
The Packers responded with a field goal, bringing the score to 19-7. With five minutes left in the game, Green Bay made this huge play.
In the moment, Morgan Burnett's decision to slide after the interception instead of continuing to run seemed conservative, but not unreasonable. Seattle needed two touchdowns to take the lead, and time was running out. But if Burnett had kept running, he could have easily picked up another 10 yards, more if he had multiple blocks, and put the Packers closer to field goal range on their next drive. Instead, they started on their own 43 and went 3-and-out. Seattle's next drive ended like this.
Next came the onside kick everyone knew was waiting for, and it ended...not as anticipated.
2:09 left, Seahawks ball. Four plays later...
Okay, so no one is surprised by Beast Mode breaking tackles, but can we talk about how insane that two-point conversion was?? This is why the Seahawks are able to conjure wins out of thin air -- because their defense is the best in the league, and when Russell Wilson is on, he does. not. quit.
The Packers kicked a field goal to tie the game at 22, but they lost the coin toss for overtime, meaning Seattle started with the ball. You know how this story ends.
I have to say, in the playoffs, I would much prefer an overtime that gives each team a possession and goes into sudden death after that. The Super Bowl is on the line, and Green Bay's fate is essentially decided by a coin flip? It just doesn't seem fair, and it would drive me crazy if it were my team. But rules are rules, so Seattle will be returning to the Super Bowl to defend their title.
There was a second game yesterday, but if you're not a Pats fan, I'd be shocked if you bothered watching it. The Patriots routed the Colts 45-7, and I don't think there was anyone in the world who thought this would be a close game. Indy's sole touchdown came off an early Brady interception, and you know that's the kind of mistake Tommy Boy only makes once in a playoff game. We had it on in the background and every time I looked up, New England had scored again. Boooooooringggggggg. By the fourth quarter, we put on Bridesmaids instead.
One fun thing to come out of the Colts/Pats game is the NFL is currently investigating a claim that New England deflated their footballs to below league standards before the game. (#deflategate, if you'd like to follow the news on Twitter.) Deflating the balls would have made them easier to grip in the rain, which sounds like the kind of slimy thing Belichick would try to get away with -- except they were playing the Colts. I find it VERY hard to believe the Pats would be worried enough about losing to Indianapolis to try to cheat their way in. I'm not buying it.
Super Bowl XLIX will be the Patriots' 8th Super Bowl appearance, tying them with the Steelers and Cowboys (UGH) for the most in the NFL. The Seahawks are the first team to make it to consecutive Super Bowls since the Pats did the same in 2003 and 2004. New England has been far more consistent this season than Seattle has, but clearly the Seahawks aren't going down without a fight. Should be an interesting game.