Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Russell Wilson was overcome with emotion while leading the postgame prayer following an improbable Seattle Seahawks' comeback in the NFC Championship Game.
Wilson had just played one of the worst games of his brief NFL career.
"That game started kind of ugly, huh," Wilson joked in his postgame press conference.
Yes it did Russell.
Good thing there was enough time to rectify those mistakes.
Wilson tossed a game-winning 35-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse 3:19 into overtime and the Seahawks rallied past the Green Bay Packers 28-22 on Sunday to become the first defending champion to reach the Super Bowl in 10 years.
The Seahawks miraculously overcame five turnovers, four of them Wilson interceptions, and a 12-point hole in the waning minutes of regulation. The stunning turn of events kept their dream of becoming the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls since the 2004 New England Patriots alive.
"That last three minutes plus the overtime was probably as good of a game as you can get," Wilson said.
Seattle will play the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona. New England routed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the AFC title game.
"Such a classic challenge and our guys found a way to get it done," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "That took tremendous faith by everybody, not just Russell."
Wilson kept it himself and scored from a yard out on a zone-read keeper to pull the Seahawks within 19-14 with 2:09 left in the fourth quarter and Seattle recovered the ensuing onside kick.
Steven Hauschka's attempt went through the hands and off the helmet of Green Bay's Brandon Bostick before Chris Matthews pounced on the football at midfield.
"It just slipped away," Bostick said.
Marshawn Lynch then dashed through the left side of the line and ran for a go- ahead 24-yard touchdown with 1:25 on the clock. Luke Willson hauled in the two-point conversion after an incredible scramble from Wilson. Wilson threw up a prayer across his body from the right side of the field at around the 20 and Willson was able to come down with the catch in the front left part of the end zone.
Aaron Rodgers responded, though, and got the Packers into field goal range. He fired consecutive 15-yard completions to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to move Green Bay across midfield before limping for 12 yards on a scramble.
Mason Crosby then split the uprights from 48 yards out to tie the game with 14 ticks on the clock.
Rodgers never got the ball again.
Seattle won the overtime coin toss and Wilson hit Doug Baldwin along the right sideline on a 3rd-and-7 for 35 yards to get it to the Green Bay 35. Wilson then lofted a perfectly thrown pass over the middle and past the outstretched arms of cornerback Tramon Williams before landing into the waiting hands of Kearse for the game-winner, his only catch and the target for all four of Wilson's interceptions.
Wilson, who was 8-of-8 for 199 yards and three touchdowns on third down last week against the Carolina Panthers, threw three third-down interceptions on Sunday. He finished 14-of-29 after going just 2-of-9 in the first half and totaled 209 yards for the Seahawks, who have won nine consecutive postseason home games.
Jon Ryan tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Garry Gilliam on a fake field goal, Lynch carried the ball 25 times for 157 yards, and Baldwin caught six passes for 106 yards in the triumph.
Rodgers was 19-of-34 for 178 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Green Bay, which scored the first 16 points of the game. Eddie Lacy gained 73 yards rushing on 21 totes, Cobb had seven receptions for 62 yards and a score and Nelson hauled in five balls for 71 yards.
"We were the better team today, we played well enough to win. We can't blame anybody but ourselves," Rodgers said.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted two passes and Morgan Burnett picked off a pass and posted two of Green Bay's five sacks.
"This is a hard one to swallow," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We had opportunities, particularly at critical times to make plays and Seattle made some of those big plays to keep the game alive."
The Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 26-21 in the NFC Divisional playoff to reach the NFC title game.
Richard Sherman, who wasn't thrown at in the first meeting between the teams in Week 1, showed why Rodgers stayed away from him in that initial encounter with an early interception.
Faced with a 3rd-and-10 at the 29, Rodgers lofted a pass in the back right corner of the end zone intended for Davante Adams. Sherman, though, positioned himself in front of Adams and hauled in the pick for a touchback, halting a promising 9-play opening drive.
It didn't take Packers long to get back into Seattle territory.
A slant toss intended for Kearse on a 3rd-and-7 was tipped into the air and Clinton-Dix brought in the easy interception at the 30 and returned it to the four.
John Kuhn appeared to plunge in from a yard out on 2nd-and-goal, but the call was overturned following a review. Lacy was stuffed for no gain on third down and Green Bay settled for an 18-yard Crosby field goal for the game's first points at the 8:07 mark of the first quarter.
The Packers settled for another short Crosby field goal, this one from 19 yards out, after Baldwin fumbled the ensuing kickoff.
"I just felt like you had to take points," McCarthy said opting for the early field goals. "I didn't think a lot of points would win this game."
Green Bay then forced a Seattle three-and-out and Rodgers finished off a brisk 7-play sequence when he stepped up in the pocket and found Cobb in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard score on the final play of the opening frame.
After the Seahawks were unable to move the chains, Micah Hyde returned a punt 29 yards and Crosby booted a 40-yard field goal to make it 16-0 with 9:37 to go in the second.
Seattle didn't pick up its initial first down until there was less than seven minutes to go in the first half when Lynch rumbled for 14 yards on a 3rd- and-2. Wilson, who began 0-of-6, tossed his first completion with under four minutes in the second when he hit Ricardo Lockette for 14 yards on a 3rd- and-7.
But the march was fruitless because Sam Shields intercepted Wilson on a 3rd- and-8 from the Green Bay 18.
The Seahawks finally got on the board at the 4:44 mark of the third. They had a 2nd-and-30 after Clay Matthews sacked Wilson for a loss of 15 on first down, but Lynch broke off an 11-yard run and Wilson hit a wide open Baldwin along the right sideline for a gain of 29 to the Green Bay 19 on 3rd-and-19.
Seattle lined up for a field goal on fourth down, but Ryan kept the ball and rolled left before hitting an open Gilliam for a 19-yard score.
Crosby nailed a 48-yard field goal in the early stages of the fourth for the Packers' 19-7 cushion.
Wilson became the second quarterback to throw four interceptions and win a conference championship game. George Blanda tossed five interceptions in the Houston Oilers' 10-3 win in the 1961 AFL title game over the San Diego Chargers ... The Seahawks improved to 26-2, including the playoffs, at CenturyLink Field since 2012 ... Kearse has caught touchdown passes in four consecutive postseason games.