The Seahawks ultimately prevailed 23-17 in a hard-fought game between two of the NFL’s most physical teams.
Check out the video recap below:
Here’s a complete breakdown of the biggest moments from Sunday’s heavyweight showdown between Seattle and San Francisco:
Aldon Smith Strips Russell Wilson and Recovers Fumble on First Play of Game
San Francisco defensive end Aldon Smith stripped Russell Wilson and recovered his fumble on the very first play from scrimmage.
Phil Dawson Scores First Points of Game
The 49ers managed to get some points off the Wilson miscue, but only a field goal. Phil Dawson drilled a 25-yarder to give Jim Harbaugh’s team an early 3-0 lead with 12:45 remaining in the first quarter. It was the first opening drive score the Seahawks had allowed all season.
49ers Lead 3-0 After First Quarter
The NFC Championship, as many expected, was a defensive struggle through the first quarter. The 49ers had the only points of the game, a Phil Dawson field goal, and led 3-0 after 15 minutes of play.
Colin Kaepernick’s Legs Lift 49ers to 10-0 Lead
Colin Kaepernick’s running ability was the difference early on. The 49ers quarterback eclipsed 100 yards rushing in the first half, ripping off a huge 58-yard scamper — the longest run Seattle had allowed all season — to set up his team at the 10-yard line.
Four plays later, Anthony Dixon dove into the end zone on 4th-and-goal to give San Francisco a 10-0 lead with 10:03 left in the second quarter.
The only bad news for the 49ers: Two-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati was injured on the final play of the drive.
Steven Hauschka Makes it 10-3
A nine-play, 62-yard Seattle drive resulted in a Steven Hauschka 32-yard field goal, cutting the 49ers lead to 10-3. Touchdowns were hard to come by against both these stout defenses.
Halftime Score: 49ers 10, Seahawks 3
San Francisco held a touchdown lead heading into the halftime break and received the ball first in the second half. Look how mad Jim Harbaugh got at a personal foul penalty called on the 49ers right before the break.
Meanwhile, the fans took a break from all the heart-stopping action and briefly diverted their attention to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who performed at halftime. Watch it below:
Beast Mode Engaged: Marshawn Lynch’s 40-Yard Rumble Ties the Game
Marshawn Lynch is so hard to bring down. The bruising Seahawks running back galloped 40 yards to paydirt on a 3rd-and-1 to tie the game at 10 with 9:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Niners Answer Quickly to Retake the Lead
The 49ers wasted no time in retaking the momentum — and the lead. Colin Kaepernick drove the offense 83 yards in six plays, finding Anquan Boldin for a 26-yard score to put San Francisco up 17-10 with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
Seahawks Can’t Capitalize on Doug Baldwin’s Big Kickoff Return
Doug Baldwin’s 69-yard kickoff return set the Seahawks offense up with incredible field position. However, Russell Wilson and co. were unable to capitalize with a touchdown. Instead, Pete Carroll’s team was forced to settle for a 40-yard Steven Hauschka field goal to make it a 17-13 49ers lead with 3:55 remaining in the third.
San Francisco Holds Slim Four-Point Lead Heading Into the Final Quarter
The San Francisco 49ers clung to a 17-13 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes of play.
Wow! Russell Wilson Hits Jermaine Kearse on Fourth Down to Give Seahawks First Lead of the Game
Russell Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown on 4th-and-7 to give the Seahawks a 20-17 lead with 13:44 to go in the fourth quarter. Pete Carroll had originally sent Steven Hauschka out to attempt a 53-yard field goal, but called a timeout and opted to leave his offense on the field.
Seahawks Fail to Turn Fumble Recovery Into Points
Cliff Avril stripped Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett returned the fumble to the San Francisco six-yard line, giving the Seahawks excellent field position. But the offense failed to cash in, despite getting extremely fortunate when the refs allowed Seattle to retain possession after NaVorro Bowman clearly recovered a Jermaine Kearse fumble at the one-yard line.
Bowman suffered a gruesome knee injury on the play and was carted off the field. Watch below:
It didn’t ultimately matter, though, as Pete Carroll’s decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the one backfired. Marshawn Lynch mishandled the exchange with quarterback Russell Wilson, lost the football, and the 49ers recovered at the 15-yard line with 8:18 left.
Unbelievable! Kam Chancellor Picks Off Colin Kaepernick
Back and forth it went. After a big stop by the 49ers defense, the Seattle defense answered the bell when Kam Chancellor picked off Colin Kaepernick at the San Francisco 40-yard line.
Seahawks Turn Interception Into Points, Extend Lead
The Seahawks were able to turn the Chancellor pick into three points. Steven Hauschka hit a 47-yard field goal to make it 13 unanswered points, extending Seattle’s lead to 23-17 with 3:37 left in regulation.
Not surprisingly, it went down to the wire at CenturyLink Field.
Malcolm Smith’s Interception Seals Victory
The 49ers, looking to pull off the unthinkable, moved the ball all the way inside the Seattle 20-yard line in the final minute of regulation.
But their comeback bid eventually fell short.
Sherman and Crabtree got into it after the play.
Sherman took to Twitter shortly after the game to continue his verbal onslaught.
A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 20, 2014
There was a lot of talk before the game…. Now I'm the bad guy lol…. Well if u judge my character on the field ….So many glass houses
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 20, 2014
When it was all said and done, Seattle got the victory in an absolute thriller, earning the opportunity to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos.