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A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 20, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Seahawks: What national media are saying about Seattle’s victory

Here is what national media are saying about the Seahawks and 49ers after Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, including a link to each Website.

Terry Blount, ESPN.com

Championship games don’t get any better.

This was a heavyweight bout of NFC West powerhouses, with haymakers being landed in every round — bloodied, broken, but unbowed, as each fighter kept getting up to land one more big shot.

Bill Williamson, ESPN.com

Can anything surpass the pain of a Super Bowl loss?

For the San Francisco 49ers, the answer might be yes. It’s difficult to imagine a more despondent scene than the 49ers’ locker room after a 23-17 loss at rival Seattle on Sunday evening in the NFC Championship Game.

Tim Kawakami, Bay Area News Group

Maybe Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree will get this right at some ultimate point, though you do have to wonder.

In 49ers lore, there is Montana to Clark, the connection for the ages.

And now: Kaepernick to Crabtree … the disconnection for the last two season-ending losses.

Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle

From his vantage point on the opposite sideline, head coach Jim Harbaugh thought his team was a whisker away from earning a shot at the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in 19 years.

“If that goes about an inch or two, Crabtree catches it for a touchdown and we win,” Harbaugh said. “But Richard Sherman made a great play.”

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle

Amid all the noise Sunday – the collective sound and fury of the 68,000-strong Seahawks‘ “12th Man,” the ugly snapping of NaVorro Bowman’s right knee, the mass breaking of a million 49ers’ hearts – did anyone hear the 49ers’ window of opportunity slamming shut?

In the three years of the Jim Harbaugh Era, the 49ers have gone to the NFC Championship Game, the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship Game again, and fallen short each time.

Valiant efforts, for sure, but was this the last great opportunity for this group of 49ers to go all the way?

Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

Pete Carroll couldn’t stop smiling as he stood on the stage in the middle of CenturyLink Field 10 minutes after his Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17 to earn a trip to the Super Bowl in New York.

Carroll, surrounded by many of his players along with TV cameras and production people as blue and green confetti fell from above, made his way to the back of the stage and motioned over to Michael Robinson and several of his other players celebrating with their families, “C’mon, get on up here!” the coach yelled down, with an exaggerated wave. Carroll wanted the whole Seahawks family to enjoy every ounce of what was happening just as much as he was.

Ken Belson, New York Times

The showdown between Beast Mode and the Inconvenient Truth, the nicknames for Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore, the star running backs of the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, was one of many subplots expected to emerge from the NFC championship game.

Ben Shpigel, New York Times

It was loud, so, so loud at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. The press box shook and the crowd rumbled and heaved and Pete Carroll, the Seahawks’ coach, paced the sideline raising his arms, pleading the crowd for more, more, more.

This happened throughout the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game, a frenetic final 15 minutes of a frenetic second half of a frenetic game featuring the two best teams in the conference, maybe the league — teams that care for each other not at all, and with each fierce hit it showed.

And when it was over, when the Seahawks had completed their 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, a victory secured on an improbable interception with 22 seconds left, the fans jumped and sang and danced, and noise enveloped this stadium, this city, like an oversize parka.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

The aptly-named Legion of Boom secondary slammed the door on the 49ers, who were aiming to get back to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season.

As “New York, New York” blared on the stadium speakers, the giddy Seahawks celebrated and confetti cannons showered blue, green and silver glitter on them.

Don Banks, SI.com

- In the years to come, all that will linger in memory will be the dominance of the fourth quarter. When the Seattle Seahawks needed it most, their defense answered. Three critical drives by the San Francisco 49ers. Three takeaways by Seattle’s proud and loud defense. With Sunday’s NFC Championship Game on the line, the strength of Seattle’s roster, the unit that has led the way all season long, stepped forth one more time and proved its worth.

Without that flair for the dramatic, and a sense of exquisite timing, the Seahawks would not be Super Bowl-bound for the first time in eight years. They’d be staying home, not heading to New York for a turn on the game’s grandest stage and a date with the dangerous Denver Broncos.

Doug Farrar, SI.com

But when speaking after his 49ers lost the 2013 NFC Championship game 23-17 to the Seattle Seahawks, none of Harbaugh’s past successes seemed to matter to him. He was stripped bare, forced to reflect on the fact that in each of those three seasons, he and his team had fallen agonizingly short.

Nancy Armour, USA Today Sports

Sometimes, one play is all it takes.

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are on their way to the Super Bowl thanks to the young quarterback’s completion on a gutsy fourth-down call in the fourth quarter.

It hardly matters that Wilson was perfectly miserable for most of the game, fumbling snaps, making bad throws and spending so much time on the ground he might as well have been a tackling dummy. Or that Seattle’s Pete Carroll was outcoached for most of the day by his old nemesis, the San Francisco 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh.

When a play had to be made, Wilson — and Carroll — did.

Mark Maske, Washington Post

The Seattle Seahawks mixed their typically rugged defense with a few big plays on offense to secure the second Super Bowl berth in franchise history. They overcame an inglorious start and an early 10-point deficit, then hung on in the final seconds to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, on Sunday in an intense and combative NFC championship game.

Linebacker Malcolm Smith’s end-zone interception sealed the outcome with 22 seconds remaining. The 49ers, seeking a winning touchdown, had driven to the Seattle 18-yard line. But quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s pass intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree was deflected by cornerback Richard Sherman and grabbed by Smith.

Mark Sappenfield, Christian Science Monitor

On the last meaningful play of a very meaningful game, Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman made a play that perhaps no other human on the planet could have made, pirouetting in mid-air to swat away what seemed a sure game-winning touchdown. Game over. Seahawks win, 23-17, and advance to play the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl Feb. 2.Before that moment of athletic grace, however, there was wholesale carnage.

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