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49ers vs. Seahawks 2014, NFC Championship: Seattle beats 'hated rivals' to advance

Seattle is off to its second Super Bowl in franchise history after a tremendous win over San Fran in the final seconds.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In a game that lived up the hype, the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers 23-17, advancing to their second Super Bowl since 2005.

Seattle fell behind 10-0 early in the game but was able to fight itself back into the contest on the legs of Marshawn Lynch, who became the first man all season to rush for over 100 yards against the 49ers with 109 on the day.

Russell Wilson was nothing spectacular throughout the afternoon, completing only 16 of 25 passes for 209 yards. However, Wilson was able to extend a handful of key plays and in doing so, did just enough to propel the Seahawks to victory.

Seattle's defense led the way as usual, forcing Colin Kaepernick into two interceptions including the game-clinching one in the final minute. Kaepernick was looking for Michael Crabtee in the end zone, but Richard Sherman deflected the pass away and into the arms Malcolm Smith, setting off a celebration and Sherman's oversized mouth.

Over at Field Gulls, Jacson Bevens attempted to sum up the incredible ride the Seahawks have put their fans on:

Six months ago, I wrote about this team as a crew of swarthy pirates hell-bent on making every harbor in the kingdom their own. Eighteen swash-buckling games later they've set their sails directly on the greatest prize this game has to offer. To us, this is a mountaintop experience; beating the hated rivals, claiming the division and the conference, overcoming an obstacle that seemed to grow with each passing day this week. To them, however, it was just another boulder on their way up said mountain. They've got greater heights in their sights; two weeks from now, we'll see if they can take the final step.

For the 49ers, it's a third straight season that at least reached the NFC Championship game and yet no Super Bowl ring. San Francisco was undone by Kaepernick's two turnovers but also the inability to conventionally run the football. Kaepernick led all rushers with an astounding 130 yards, but Frank Gore only had 14 on 11 attempts.

It's another painful defeat for San Francisco, which has to be sick of watching others celebrate. In 2011, the 49ers lost the NFC Championship to the New York Giants. Last year, it was a brutal Super Bowl defeat to the Baltimore Ravens. Now, another NFC title game defeat to a hated rival.

David Fucillo of Niners Nation tries to keep an honest perspective on all that went on Sunday, and how the future looks:

This is a big offseason for Kap. He's got a year and a half of starting under his belt. He's seeing more situations, and getting more experience in the pressure-cooker. He needs to continue to show progress, but a little patience is needed. This is a process, and as we saw this season, there will be hiccups along the way. Kap has the coming offseason to get back to it and improve.

This loss is going to sting for a while, but the future remains bright. The 49ers have their share of question marks, but they have an incredible talent in Colin Kaepernick. I am excited for the future.

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