Seahawks & Patriots Advance To Conference Title Games
The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots each won in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday and advanced to their respective conference championship games. Here’s a recap of the day’s action:
Seattle 31, Carolina 17
Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, and the Seahawks beat the Carolina Panthers, 31-17, in the NFC divisional playoff game in Seattle on Saturday night. Seattle advanced to its second straight NFC title game with the win.
The Seahawks broke open a close game with a big fourth quarter. The defending Super Bowl champs led 14-10 heading into the final 15 minutes, when they scored 17 points — including Kam Chancellor’s 90-yard interception return for a touchdown that put the game away.
The teams spent the first half engaged in a physical war under the misting Seattle skies. Jermaine Kearse made a one-handed, 63-yard touchdown catch and run of a Wilson pass in the second quarter that helped the Seahawks take a 14-10 halftime lead.
Carolina’s Cam Newton was 23 of 36 for 246 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted twice and fumbled twice, losing one.
The Seahawks will host the winner of Sunday’s Green Bay-Dallas game at CenturyLink Field next week for the NFC Championship.
New England 35, Baltimore 31
Tom Brady threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell with 5:13 to play, and the New England Patriots rallied to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 35-31, in the AFC divisional playoff game in Foxborough, Mass. on Saturday. As a result of the win, the Pats advanced to their fourth straight AFC Championship Game.
After a Justin Tucker field goal gave the Ravens a 31-28 edge early in the fourth quarter, Brady marched his team downfield for a 10-play 74-yard scoring drive that culminated with his game-clinching pass to LaFell. The touchdown was Brady’s 46th career postseason TD pass, setting a new NFL record formerly held by Joe Montana.
Thanks to Joe Flacco’s four touchdown passes, Baltimore had led 28-14 early in the third quarter. New England rallied behind its franchise quarterback and some trickery.
First, Brady capped off an 80-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring pass to Rob Gronkowski with 6:48 left in the third quarter. Then, wide receiver Julian Edelman threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola to tie the game on the Patriots’ next possession.
Saturday’s game featured several swings of momentum. Baltimore scored two quick first-quarter TDs only to see the Patriots rally to tie the game at 14 in the second quarter. The Ravens then capitalized on a Brady interception, taking a 21-14 lead on Flacco’s 11-yard strike to Owen Daniels just before halftime.
Brady finished 33-of-50 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Gronkowski caught seven passes for 108 yards and a score.
Flacco threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. Justin Forsett carried 24 times for 129 yards for Baltimore.
New England will host the winner of Sunday’s Denver-Indianapolis game at Gillette Stadium next week for the right to go to the Super Bowl.