If you missed Sunday’s NFC Championship between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers, you missed one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory.
Down 19-7 with 3:52 remaining in regulation, it didn’t look like the Seahawks had any chance against the visiting Packers. However, Russell Wilson came to play when it mattered most. He engineered a quick scoring drive that culminated with him scampering into the end zone to make the score 19-14. Seattle then recovered an onside kick and took a 22-19 lead 40 seconds later on a Marshawn Lynch 24-yard touchdown run.
Although stunned, the Packers responded as Mason Crosby nailed a 48-yard field goal to force the game into overtime. After winning the coin toss, Seattle possessed the ball first, needing a touchdown to advance to the Super Bowl. In an already-improbable sequence of events, Seattle completed the comeback. Wilson fired a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse to give the Seahawks their second consecutive NFC Championship.
Kearse, signed in 2012 by the Seahawks, is the last person anyone would have expected to be on the receiving end of the game-winning score. Prior to the catch, Kearse had been targeted five times by Wilson. Of the five passes, four ended up in the hands of Packer defenders as interceptions. The Wilson-Kearse connection was struggling to say the least, and it appeared that the third-year receiver was going to be remembered as the “curse” that ended the Seahawks bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
All “Kearses,” or curses, aside, one could not write the script any better. Kearse, a Washington native, has been surrounded by the Seahawks his entire life. Growing up in Lakewood, Washington, 40 miles from Seattle, he must have dreamed of a moment similar to what transpired on the gridiron Sunday afternoon.
Kearse attended Lakewood High School before staying in his home state and enrolling at the University of Washington. He led the Huskies in receptions twice and collected 29 touchdowns in his four-year college career. With NFL aspirations, Kearse declared for the draft but was not selected. He didn’t have to wait long for an NFL offer, though, as he was signed as a free agent by the Seahawks immediately after the draft concluded. And now, in the blink of an eye, Jermaine Kearse is a Washington hero. The Super Bowl and the New England Patriots are looming, and one can only wonder if Jermaine Kearse or Jermaine “Curse” will show up in Arizona.
On another curse-related note, the Madden curse has returned. Richard Sherman, Seahawks star defensive back and cover athlete for this year’s edition of the popular NFL video game series, injured his elbow in Seattle’s victory. In the past, Madden cover athletes have lost starting jobs, have had careers derailed and have been injured in the season following the release of the version of the game featuring them. Who knew football was loaded with all these curses?