It was a 14-10 lead entering the fourth quarter in Century Link field in a tight ball game with a game Carolina Panthers team looking to play spoiler to the team that finished the regular season with the best record in the NFC.
But three straight scoring drives in the second half by Seattle ensured that when the final whistle blew, our Seahawks would be hosting a second consecutive NFC title game in Seattle.
And in doing so, the victory was first time in 9 years that a defending Superbowl champion earned a playoff victory the following season.
Russell Wilson played another outstanding game commanding an offense that put-up 348 yards while throwing for 268 yards on 15 of 22 completions with three touchdowns.
Three of those passes went to Jermaine Kearse for 148 yards and one big touchdown grab in the closing five minutes in the second quarter which gave Seattle their 14-10 lead at the break.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch was limited on the day carrying the ball only 14 times for 59 yards and no scores. The combined rushing attack of the Seahawks totaled 100 yards on the day with Russell Wilson only rushed 7 times for 22 yards.
The Seattle defense had another strong performance and pressured Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton into throwing two interceptions. One of which was returned 90 yards by strong safety Kam Chancellor late in the 4th quarter that pushed the Seahawks’ lead to 31-10 with just under six minutes to go in the game. The other pic went to cornerback Richard Sherman.
Defensive end Cliff Avril and linebacker Bruce Irvin both registered a sack as the defense held Newton to 246 yards in the air on 36 attempts with 23 completions.
The victory sets up a rematch against teams played earlier this season; Green Bay where Seattle earned a 36-6 victory to start the season at home and the Cowboys which gave Seattle their only loss at home this season with a 30-23 defeat in week six.
But that was a different team then. And whichever team that dare come to Century Link next will be soon to find out.