NFL Playoff recap

Staff Writer

Sunday 1/18/15
Seattle (14-4) 28 vs
Green Bay (13-5) 22

Green Bay opened up the game by quickly driving the ball down field on their first drive. They got the ball down into the red zone only to have star CB Richard Sherman intercept the ball in the end zone. A couple plays later it was Green Bay’s turn as HaHa Clinton-Dix intercepted Russell Wilson 3 plays later to set Green Bay up with a first down at the Seattle 19. Green Bay drove to the Seattle 1 yard line and initially was awarded a touchdown on a John Kuhn 1 yard run, but that way overturned. They ended up having to settle for a field goal to get on the board 3-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Doug Baldwin fumbled and Green Bay recovered at the Seattle 23 yard line. Once again, Green Bay was able to drive down to the 1 yard line only to convert another 19 yard Mason Crosby field goal. After getting the ball back again, Green Bay finally got one in the end zone as Aaron Rodgers hooked up with Randall Cobb for a 13 yard touchdown to end the first quarter to make it 13-0. Green Bay forced another 3 and out and got great field position again after Micah Hyde returned the ball 29 yards to the Seattle 33. Six plays and 11 yards later, Green Bay kicked a field goal on 4th and 1 from the Seattle 22 to go up 16-0. The teams traded off interceptions the rest of the half to remain 16-0 Green Bay at half time. On Seattle’s second possession of the second half they were able to drive the ball downfield after converting a 3rd and 19 thanks to a 29 yard hook up from Wilson to WR Doug Baldwin. The drive stalled at the 19 yard line and Seattle set up for a field goal to finally get on the board. They faked it as holder and punter by trade, Jon Ryan took off with the ball heading toward the sideline. As LB Clay Matthews came up to cover Ryan running for the first down, Ryan then tossed the ball to eligible lineman Clint Gresham for the 19 yard touchdown to finally put Seattle on the board with 4:44 left in the 3rd quarter. Green Bay got the ball to start the 4th quarter and drove it down the field thanks to a 32 yard run by James Starks and a couple Aaron Rodgers completions. They ended up converting a field goal to make it 19-7. Cruising with a 12 point lead, Green Bay forced Seattle to punt again and they took over at their own 13 yard line with 6:53 left in the game, they called conservative plays running the ball twice and an incomplete pass forced Green Bay into a 3 and out. On Seattle’s first play with the ball back Morgan Burnett intercepted Russell Wilson to give Green Bay possession once again at their 43 with 5:04 left in the game. They went 3 and out to punt the ball back to Seattle with 3:52 left in the game. Seattle made quick work of the drive as Russell Wilson hooked up with Doug Baldwin for 20 yards and on the next play threw a beautiful fade route to RB Marshawn Lynch for what was initially ruled a touchdown. The replay showed that Lynch went out of bounds at the 9 yard line. Three plays later, Russell Wilson was able to run it into the end zone. With the score 19-14 with 2:09 left in the game, Seattle was forced to onside kick it. They recovered it thanks to a high kick bounced off reserve TE Brandon Bostick’s facemask and Seattle’s Chris Matthews recovered it. Once getting the ball back, Seattle took only 4 plays to score the go ahead touchdown as Marshawn Lynch scored from 24 yards out. They had a successful 2 point conversion when a scrambling Russell Wilson threw a floater across the field to TE Luke Wilson to make it 22-19 with 1:25 left. Aaron Rodgers made consecutive 15 yard completions to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to set them up at the Seattle 48 with under a minute to go. On the next play, Rodgers scrambled for 12 yards. After a 3 and out, they kicked the game tying field goal from 48 yards out to tie the game. This was Mason Crosby’s Championship round record 5th field goal on the day. Seattle won the coin toss before overtime and elected to take the ball. On a 3rd and 7 from their own 30, Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for a 35 yard gain. On the very next play Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse on a beautifully lofted pass down the seam for a 35 yard touchdown to send them to the Super Bowl. With the win, Seattle is the first team to go to back to back Super Bowls since New England won back to back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005. Their 16 point comeback was the largest ever in a conference title game.

New England (14-4) 45 vs
Indianapolis (13-6) 7

Tom Brady and his coach Bill Belichick came into Sunday night’s game in Foxboro looking to go to their 6th Super Bowl together. Tom would be the first Quarterback in league history to do so. After being forced to punt on their first possession, New England got a gift from Indianapolis punt returner Josh Cribbs who fumbled the punt of his facemask and New England recovered at the Indianapolis 26 yard line. LaGarrette Blount got New England on the board 6 plays later when he punched the ball in from 1 yard out. On Indianapolis’ next drive they drove the ball down field only to have the drive stall thanks to key drops from Andrew Luck’s receivers. They ended up trying a 51 yard field goal that Adam Vinatieri was unable to convert. New England was quickly threatening again when Brady connected with Shane Vereen on a pretty 30 yard pass in tight coverage. A couple plays later Brady connected with FB James Devlin for a 1 yard score to go up 14-0. Andrew Luck responded by navigating a 10 play 93 yard drive to get on the board. Reserve RB Zurlon Tipton scored the touchdown from 1 yard out. New England would threaten again before the half running 7 plays from inside the Indianapolis 13 yard line, but could not get a touchdown. They had to settle for a field goal making it 17-7 at the half. The second half quickly saw the game get out of hand as New England imposed their will. On their first drive they marched right down field and capped the drive by throwing to Tackle Nate Solder, who reported as eligible, for an entertaining 16 yard touchdown. After forcing another 3 and out, New England quickly moved the ball down field. They employed a strategy that saw great success last week against Baltimore. They would come out with a 4 linemen and report one of their wideouts ineligible and report the man on the end of the line as eligible. They ended up scoring on a 5 yard pass from Brady to Rob Gronkowski to make it 31-7. On Indianapolis’ next drive Luck was intercepted by Darrell Revis who returned it to the Indianapolis 13 yard line. On the very next play, LaGarrette Blount got loose for a 13 yard score. The game was now out of hand as New England was up 38-7 with over a quarter left in the game. They would tack on another LaGarrette Blount score to bring us to the final score of 45-7. Blount finished the game with 30 rushes for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 45 points New England scored tied a franchise record for most points in a playoff game (1/14/2012 vs. Denver). Coach Bill Belichick has now tied Hall of Famer Don Shula for most Super Bowl appearances. He also broke the record for most post season wins with 21, 20 of those wins came with Tom Brady at quarterback. Brady’s 20 post season victories are currently more than 21 other franchises have in their history. New England is now 17-4 in home playoff games. As the motto has been in New England, they are on to Seattle. The two best teams all year will be meeting for all the marbles February 1st in Glendale, Arizona. They played for it all in 2007 in Glendale only to be upset by NYG 17-14 to ruin their perfect season.