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Seahawks vs. Panthers final score: Seattle dispatches Carolina, moves to NFC Championship Game

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks got a tough fight from the NFC South Champion Panthers, but pulled away in the fourth quarter to run away with a 31-17 victory. Seattle moves to the NFC Championship game, where they'll host the winner of tomorrow's matchup between the Packers and Cowboys at Lambeau Field.

The Seahawks got huge games from Russell Wilson and Kam Chancellor in particular.

Wilson was absolutely dialed in -- he finished an efficient 15-of-22 for 268 yards, and hit Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Luke Willson for touchdown strikes. The throws to Baldwin and Kearse were beautifully placed -- the first to Doug was a teardrop on a Panthers' cover-0 blitz where Doug juked his man into thinking he was running a slant and then drifted into the back of the endzone.

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His 63-yard big-play pass to Kearse was even more impressive, and Kearse used one hand to reel it in, then rumbled downfield before diving into the endzone. It was the longest touchdown play in Seahawks playoff history.

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Wilson's 149 QB rating was the 2nd highest of his career -- not a bad time to shake off the CenturyLink Field issues that had plagued him this season, and he looked in total command once the second half rolled around.

As for Chancellor, he seemed to be in that Super Bowl XLVIII "dark place," flying around the field and blowing up ballcarriers. The highlight of the game would have been his enormous hit on ~270 pound fullback Mike Tolbert if it wasn't for his late fourth-quarter pick six that sealed the deal.

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Richard Sherman grabbed a pick as well, and Earl Thomas again showed his speed and range in making several huge plays from deep centerfield. Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin each grabbed sacks and while Cam Newton played a really great game overall, Seattle's pass rush ended up being too much for Carolina.

Seattle becomes the first Super Bowl winner to win a Playoff game the next year since 2005, and the first Super Bowl winner to advance to the NFC Championship Game the next year since 1997.


-- Paul Richardson sprained his knee, and his status for next week will be a big question mark this week.

-- Max Unger left really late after his ankle was rolled up on, and Pete Carroll made it sound like he was walking around in the locker room afterwords and feeling okay.

-- Seattle ended up rushing for 100 yards but overall the run game struggled to get a ton of traction. Wilson picked up the slack with that and all three of his touchdowns came on third downs. That's huge.

-- Jermaine Kearse's 129 receiving yards is a career high. Luke Willson bounced back from two drops last week to again look like a real threat up the seam. He finished with four catches on four targets for 68 yards and a touchdown.