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The 2014 Super Bowl matchup will feature the Seattle Seahawks taking on the Denver Broncos after an incredible NFL Conference Championship round of the playoffs. The Seahawks narrowly bested the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, while the Broncos advanced to the big game by taking out the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Let's recap the NFL Playoff Conference Championship Round as we go over both games.
AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots 16
Denver Broncos 26
Denver had home field advantage throughout the AFC side of the playoffs and did not squander it, winning 26-16. New England staged a ferocious comeback in the regular season head-to-head meeting between these teams before taking out the Broncos in overtime, but Denver had enough left in the tank for the AFC Championship Game victory.
The Turning Point: Tom Brady and company scored a touchdown with 9 minutes left to get the game within 13 points and got in the end zone again with 3 minutes left to make it a 10-point game. What sealed the win and let Denver fans finally exhale was the Broncos recovering the ensuing onside kick. From there Peyton Manning and company picked up a few first downs, including the deciding 4th-and-2 conversion on a 5-yard Montee Ball run to finally put Brady and his cohorts away for good.
NFC Championship Game
San Francisco 49ers 17
Seattle Seahawks 23
The regular season matchups between these two teams were so varied that it made it hard for prognosticators to figure out what to expect in the NFC Championship Game. When San Francisco went into Seattle earlier in the season with a bunch of injuries they were blown out, but the 49ers had enough to take out the Seahawks at home later in the season with some players back. The referees did San Francisco no favors with numerous terrible calls going against them but ultimately it was the play of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman which stopped the 49ers from advancing to their 2nd straight Super Bowl.
The Turning Point: Down 17-23, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick had the 49ers marching down the field without much resistance. The 49ers had 2 timeouts left and over 30 seconds on the clock when Kaepernick made the ill-fated long throw to the end zone in an attempt to hit Michael Crabtree. Sherman spun in mid-air and swatted the ball upward before linebacker Malcolm Smith ran under the wayward pass for the game-ending interception.