All-pro cornerback Richard Sherman, known for trash talking, has never been shy about voicing his belief of him being the best cornerback in the NFL. But he let his play do the talking on Jan. 19 as he made the game-winning pass deflection to lead the Seattle Seahawks past the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.
Down six points with less than a minute left in the game, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick tried to throw the potential game-winning touchdown pass into the end zone to receiver Michael Crabtree. But Sherman was shadowing Crabtree and tipped the pass away from Crabtree and into the hands of his teammate, linebacker Michael Smith, for the game-sealing interception.
“I’m the best cornerback in the NFL and that’s what happens when you test me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree,” Sherman shouted to Fox TV’s sideline reporter after the game.
Seattle’s No. 1 ranked defense also forced two other turnovers by San Francisco’s offense. Kaepernick gave up a sack fumble and was also intercepted by safety Kam Chancellor in the third quarter.
Kaepernick did, however, run the ball well, especially in the first half of the game. He finished with a game-high 130 rushing yards on 11 carries.
The Seahawks started off a little slow on offense; they scored just three points in the first half and trailed 13-3 at halftime. But Seattle’s pro bowl running back Marshawn Lynch eventually got going and broke a 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Lynch finished with 109 rushing yards.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a solid performance, completing 16 of 25 pass attempts for 215 yards and a 35-yard touchdown pass. His touchdown pass came in the clutch on fourth down to give Seattle their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter.
Wilson is the fourth African-American quarterback to reach the Super Bowl.
Seattle (15-3) will now match its top-ranked defense against the Denver Broncos (15-3) and their No. 1 ranked offense led by legendary quarterback Peyton Manning. It’ll be the first time in recent history that the top-ranked offense takes on the top-ranked defense in the Super Bowl.
This is only the second time the Seahawks have reached the Super Bowl. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL in February 2006. The Broncos will play in its sixth Super Bowl with their last trip coming in February 1999 when John Elway led them to their second of back-to-back championships.
Super Bowl XLVIII is scheduled for Feb. 2 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., setting up the first Super Bowl to be played outdoors in a cold climate.