The road ends in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks as they will now prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII. After a Sunday that started with two of the best quarterbacks in the last decade, ended with the future stars of quarterbacks. A day filled with high powered offense, lock down defense, and emotion that was off the charts.
Sunday kicked off with a battle of the possibly the two best quarterbacks of all time. Tom Brady lead the Patriots into the Mile High city looking to make it back to the Super Bowl, after losing in Super Bowl his last two appearances to the New York Giants in 2008 & 2012. Peyton Manning trying to make another appearance, first in Denver, Manning was the MVP of Super Bowl XLI as apart of Indianapolis Colts who took down the Chicago Bears. Manning had his way the New England defense throwing for 2 touchdowns and 400 yards. Mannings 400 yards through the air was the most in a Broncos playoff game since John Elway passed for 385 yards in a 1989 AFC Championship Game in a win over the Browns.
The Patriots defensive problems started early in the 2nd quarter when Pro Bowl cornerback Aqid Talib left the game with an injury. Denver also converted on their first 7 third down conversion tries. Mannings main target on the day was Demaryius Thomas who had 7 receptions for 134 yards and 1 touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, the Denver defense held the Patriots running game to only 64 yards. Last week the vs the Colts, New England rushed for 234 that steam rolled the Colts defense. The Denver defense also played well against the Patriots pass, even though Brady was still able to pass for 256 yards, The Broncos were able to keep one of Bradys favorite targets in check, as Danny Amendola was only targeted one time and did not have a single reception. Denver took down the Patriots 26-16.
San Francisco looked to keep their hot streak going as the headed to one of the toughest venues to play in all of sports in Seattle. The Seahawks were 7-1 at home this season and split the season series with the 49ers. Last time San Francisco traveled to Seattle week 2, the Seahawks dominated the whole game winning 29-3. This was the 49ers 3rd straight NFC Championship game and they had there eyes on making to their 2nd straight Super Bowl and it was a battle of the two up and coming star quarterbacks in the game.
While there was spurts of great plays being made by the two young quarterbacks, there was also many plays that made people question their knowledge. The turnovers with the quarterbacks came early as Russell Wilson on his first snap rolled out of the pocket like he has done his whole early career and sacked which lead to a fumble that resulted in an San Francisco field goal.
Defense was the key on both sides in the first half but hat would change in the 2nd half as both teams made game changing plays. It started half way through the 3rd quarter as Marshawn Lynch broke a tackle for a 40 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 10. San Francisco answered back as Kaepernick made play throwing off one foot to find Anquan Boldin for a touchdown. Early in the 4th,Pete Carroll made a risky call to go for it on 4th & 7. "The original plan was to try and draw an offside, which actually worked, free play came from it and Russell made a play." Carroll told ESPN. Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse on a free play 35 yard touchdown to take the lead 20-17. Following a Kaepernick interception one a drive late in the 4th which lead to a field goal. Kaepernick and the 49ers got the ball back at their own 22 and worked their way up to the Seattle 18 looking to put one on the endzone to tie up then be able to win the game.
With 22 seconds left on the Seattle 18 yard line. Kaepernick took a shot to the endzone to Michael Crabtree. The pass was broken up by cornerback Richard Sherman which then was intercepted by Malcolm Smith. Seattle then ran the clock down to finish the game with a 23-17 win and trip to the Super Bowl.
The story after the game was Richard Sherman's post game interview with Erin Andrews. Sherman called out WR Carbtree calling him "sorry" and "mediocre." Sherman said that Kaepernicks decision to target Carbtree on the final play was "insane" and that Sherman called himself "the best cornerback in the NFL."
With all the wildness that happened this weekend, one things for sure. Come February 2nd, the whole world will find out what this Seattle defense can do against MVP front runner, and future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning. Denver who was the No. 1 offense in the regular season will take on the No. 1 regular season defense in Seattle.