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August 27, 2014 at 5:58 PM

The top 10 plays that helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl

1. The tip in the NFC Championship game against San Francisco

What, you were expecting something else? Richard Sherman’s tipped pass that sent the Seahawks to the Super Bowl isn’t just the biggest play from last season. It will go down as one of the biggest plays in the history of the Seahawks.

Richard Sherman tips Colin Kaepernick's pass in the end zone, setting up the interception by Malcolm Smith to seal the win for  the Seahawks over the 49ers  in the NFC Championship Game. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Richard Sherman tips Colin Kaepernick’s pass in the end zone, setting up the interception by Malcolm Smith to seal the win for the Seahawks over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

2. Jermaine Kearse’s touchdown catch against the 49ers in the NFC title game

On fourth down in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson got the 49ers to jump offsides, then floated a pass down the middle of the field to Kearse. Kearse went up in traffic and hauled in the pass to give the Seahawks the lead for good.

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Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a key touchdown pass in the NFC Championship. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

3. Richard Sherman’s interception return against Houston

The Seahawks had fallen behind by 17 points in Houston, and they looked headed for their first loss of the season. But Sherman jumped in front of Matt Schaub’s pass and returned it for a game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter — without one shoe.

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Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman returns an interception for a touchdown against Houston, helping Seattle come back from a 17-point deficit. (Photo by Patric Schneider / The Associated Press)

4. Percy Harvin’s kickoff return for a touchdown against Denver in the Super Bowl

Harvin played in just three games last season and had five catches. But he made up for his absence in the season with his performance in the Super Bowl, including an 87-yard kickoff return to open the second half that was the electrifying blow.

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Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin returns the second-half kickoff for a touchdown against the Broncos in the Super Bowl. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

5. Michael Bennett’s fumble recovery and touchdown against New Orleans

Bennett had already made an impact for the Seahawks by the time they played the Saints in the regular season. But his fumble recovery and touchdown return, coupled with his gyrating celebration dance, introduced him to a national audience and set the stage for a message-sending blowout.

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Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett runs into the end zone for a touchdown as Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (20) runs alongside after defensive end Cliff Avril forced a fumble from Saints quarterback Drew Brees. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

6. Kam Chancellor’s big hit in the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl wasn’t five minutes old, and the Seahawks led by five. When Chancellor leveled a crushing hit on Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas over the middle, it set the tone for the dominant defensive performance that was about to follow.

7. Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run against the 49ers in the NFC title game

The Seahawks trailed by a touchdown and hadn’t done much offensively, but Lynch tied the game with a 40-yard touchdown run in which he pinballed off Seattle offensive lineman Alvin Bailey and broke free for a signature touchdown. He then followed it up by shaking the hand of each offensive player on the field during the run.

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Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch rumbles for a 40-yard touchdown against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

8. Seattle’s goal-line stand on the final play in St. Louis

It might have been the Seahawks’ worst game of the season, but they were able to salvage it on the final two plays. With the Seahawks leading by five and only seconds left, the Rams had the ball on the Seattle 1-yard line with two downs to try to punch it in. But the Seahawks held twice and escaped with a win.

9. Earl Thomas/Richard Sherman’s forced fumble against Carolina

Thomas and Sherman combined to pry the ball from Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams deep in Seattle territory in the season opener. The Seahawks trailed by one and had a little more than five minutes to take the lead. They did when Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a deep touchdown, but it wouldn’t have happened without the forced fumble.

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Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas screams for joy after he helps cause Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams to fumble in the season opener, giving Seattle a chance to rally for the win. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

10. Golden Tate’s momentum-flipping punt return against Tampa Bay

The Seahawks had looked sluggish against the winless Buccaneers and fell behind 21-0. But Tate’s 71-yard punt return at the end of the third quarter rejuvenated the Seahawks and cleared the way for the largest comeback in franchise history.

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Golden Tate’s 71-yard punt return was key in Seattle’s comeback from a 21-point deficit against Tampa Bay. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Honorable mentions

  • Golden Tate’s touchdown catch and wave-goodbye to Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins on “Monday Night Football”
  • Jermaine Kearse’s touchdown catch and broken tackles against the Broncos in the Super Bowl
  • Marshawn Lynch’s slow stroll into the end zone in the first game against the 49ers
  • Ricardo Lockette’s big hit on special teams against the Rams
  • Russell Wilson’s touchdown pass to Sidney Rice on the run against the Cardinals
  • Doug Baldwin’s toe-tap catch along the sideline against the Panthers

More from the 2014 Seahawks season preview

Comments | More in Super Bowl | Topics: 49ers, Earl Thomas, golden tate

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