Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson led their respective teams to hard-fought victories to set up a slug fest in next Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in Seattle.
“I think we’re the two teams that everybody was looking at from the beginning,” said Kaepernick, the young San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback. “It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out game.”
To set up Sunday’s clash, Wilson and a stout defense led the Seahawks to a 23-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. The next day, the Niners handled the Carolina Panthers 23-10 to advance.
Kaepernick outgunned Cam Newton Sunday, a victory he punctuated by celebrating a touchdown in Newton’s Superman style.
“Just a little shoutout,” Kaepernick said.
When asked for whom the “shoutout” was intended, Kaepernick smiled and said, “I think you know the answer.”
Seems Kaepernick remains upset that Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner, was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft while Kaepernick was a second-round selection. “I’ll never forget,” he said.
Newton won’t soon forget the defeat in his first playoff game as a pro. He was picked off twice. “Terrible ending to a great season,” Newton said.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, completed 15 of 28 passes for 196 yards in the divisional playoff win, avenging his worst statistical performance of the season two months ago against the Panthers.
Now San Francisco needs its best effort of the season to win in Seattle. The 49ers (14-4) split two games with the Seahawks this season and, significantly, lost 29-3 at CenturyLink Field in September.
The 49ers were missing receiver Michael Crabtree in that lopsided loss. Crabtree only had three catches for 26 yards against Carolina, but Anquan Boldin said he drew plenty of double teams that allowed him to get open.
“That’s the great thing about our team — we have weapons all around,” Boldin said. “You try to take one guy out and you still have two or three guys left who can make big plays.”