Kearse, on the first drive of overtime, caught a 35-yard touchdown from Russell Wilson to give the Seahawks their second straight NFC title. The Seahawks, who looked dead with just a few minutes left in regulation on Sunday afternoon, defeated the Green Bay Packers, 28-22, in one of the greatest playoff games in NFL history.
Wilson, who had just hit Doug Baldwin for a big third-down conversion into Packers territory, lofted a pass to Kearse, who beat Tramon Williams and caught the pass with Williams draped all over him for the score.
That capped off a miracle comeback for Seattle. Cameras caught Wilson weeping after the game. It was that kind of win.
Marshawn Lynch’s 24-yard touchdown run with 1:25 left gave the Seahawks a lead after they looked all but buried just a few minutes before. When safety Morgan Burnett picked off Russell Wilson with about five minutes left, he strangely slid down like the game was over even though he had plenty of room to run. Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, mobbed him on the ground in celebration. And, in fairness, it did seem like it was over. The Packers led 19-7 and had dominated up to that point.
Then Seattle’s offense, which had been ineffective most of the game, came alive. Russell Wilson, who finished with four interceptions, hit Marshawn Lynch for a long pass down to the 9-yard line. Wilson scored on a 1-yard touchdown with 2:09 left. Still, Seattle needed something out of the ordinary to happen.
Then came the onside kick. Packers tight end Brandon Bostic went up for the onside kick and couldn’t bring it in. The Seahawks recovered, and all of a sudden they had the ball needing a touchdown to take the lead on their quest for a second straight NFC championship.
Lynch, who has done so much during this Seahawks run the past few years, gave Seattle the lead. He ran off left tackle into a huge hole, and it was clear immediately he was going to score. He strolled the final few yards in, then Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for an incredible two-point conversion to put the Seahawks ahead 22-19.
The Packers still weren’t done, not with three timeouts and quarterback Aaron Rodgers Green Bay then pulled off their own great comeback.
Rodgers hit a couple of quick passes, then limped on a bad calf for a first down at Seattle’s 36-yard line. The Packers picked up 6 more yards on a completion to Jordy Nelson to set up Mason Crosby for a game-tying field goal. He drilled a 48-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
The Packers and Rodgers never got the ball in overtime. Wilson and Kearse made sure of it.