Keys to victory: Seahawks 23, 49ers 17

The Seattle Seahawks had the top defense in the NFL during the regular season.

That unit came through when it was most needed as the Seahawks edged the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 in the NFC Championship Game.

The Seahawks advance to face the Denver Broncos in what will be the Super Bowl's first matchup of the top offensive team against the top defensive team since the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants in the 1990 season.

Seattle overcame a 10-point deficit to win. The Seahawks won all three games this season in which they trailed by 10 or more points.

Play of the Game- Smith’s interception

Seahwaks defensive back Malcolm Smith did not have an interception until Week 16. Heha s now had three in his past four games.

This one, which thwarted the 49ers' potential game-winning drive, came after Richard Sherman tipped away a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone.

It was only the second time in the past two seasons that Kaepernick was intercepted on a pass intended for Crabtree.


Marshawn Lynch rushed for 109 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run. This was the fourth time in his Seahawks career that he rushed for at least 100 yards in a playoff game. All other Seahawks have combined for four such games.

Most 100-Yd Rush Games
Seahawks Postseason History

Lynch had 107 of those yards rushing between the tackles, the most by any player against the 49ers in the past five seasons.

Lynch has the top three rushing touchdowns by distance in Seahawks postseason history. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that his four postseason rushing touchdowns of 25 yards or more are twice as many as anyone else.

Baldwin for the win

Doug Baldwin finished with 106 receiving yards, the second-most he has had in any game in his career. He also had three kickoff returns for 109 yards, including a 69-yarder that set up a field goal by Steven Hauschka. Baldwin had returned only three kicks for the Seahawks all season prior to Sunday.

Containing Kaepernick

Kaepernick had a 58-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but did not scramble much after that. Kaepernick had only three second-half rushes after running eight times in the first half.

Kaepernick also finished 2-for-9 for 33 yards and two interceptions on throws outside the painted numbers, including the 49ers' final play of the season.

Kaepernick threw multiple interceptions in a game for the second time this season. The other instance was a three-interception game against the Seahawks in Week 2.