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(SEATTLE) Jan. 18, 2015 – Super Bowl XLVIII-defending Seahawks defeat Packers 28-22 in nail-biting overtime NFC Conference Championship game

(SEATTLE)  Jan. 19, 2015 – WHAT A “NUTS GAME” to cover on rainy Sunday after a rather marathon-long , ongoing 11-day work week.  The heavily-favored Seattle Seahawks (as we all know) struggled through the first three quarters of their matchup against the old-school Packers.  After covering the Seahawks during the 12th-man induced very loud season, I was so surprised to see how squelched-silent the 12th Man was during the first 3/4 of the game.  While not perfect early in the season, I had NEVER seen the Seahawks struggle so much during a game this late this year where the Seahawks’ offense, including four interceptions by the usually unflappable QB Russell Wilson, appeared to be losing the game in a “small-ball-playing” Green Bay team.  And it was working.  Pretty decisively.

SLUG:  NFC-Championship-Packers@Seahawks

The 12th man looked depressed and were very quiet in the endzone as the Seattle Seahawks trailed the Green Bay Packers 16-0 during the second quarter of their NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle on Jan. 18, 2015 for the NFC Championship match between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. This is the second NFC Championship in a row for the Super Bowl defending champion Seahawks. Photo by Anthony Bolante/PSBJ (c) 2015

And then in the fourth quarter’s 11th hour, the Seahawks recovery of an on-side kick seemed to be the start of an avalanche of events that ended up in a 22-22 tie game that pushed this playoff matchup into overtime playoff decision play.  While the fourth-quarter Seahawks seems like a feral animal backed into a corner defending itself, the “overtime Seahawks” that we saw seems to revive the polish of a jelled-team that not only had a new momentum to win this game, but it showed the mettle that a truly talented team (with heart) looks like in the defense of a National Championship.   I was in the left corner of the endzone when Seahawks placeholder John Ryan executed a near-perfect fake placement for field goal kicker Steven Hauschka and instead, tossed the ball into the hands of undrafted wide receiver, and Seattle-local Jermaine Kearse for the game clinching touchdown, the 68,500+ “12th men/women” in CenturyLink Field WENT NUTS!  And I am so grateful to have been there to capture Kearse scoring the winning touchdown and then tossing the ball into the endzone crowd that have supported the ‘Hawks through this unpredictable season.

SLUG:  NFC-Championship-Packers@Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (15) tosses the game winning ball into the stands after he caught a 35-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Russell Wilson (unpictured) to clinch the 28-22 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Stadium in Seattle on Jan. 18, 2015 for the NFC Championship match between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. This victory takes the Seahawks to Super Bowl 49 to defend their National Championship for a second year in a row. Photo by Anthony Bolante/PSBJ (c) 2015

Unlike while I was deployed overseas last year where I watched Super Bowl XLVIII with my fellow Washington Army National Guardsmen at 2am in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, I am extremely grateful for being there with my sports photojournalism colleagues for this year’s hometown, capstone match.

150118 AntJohnJEff@NFCChampGamePackers@Seahawks-LR

The San Francisco chapter of the Asian (Photo) Youth Gang came up to join the Seattle Chapter to cover the Green Bay Packers 28-22 OT loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field, Seattle on Jan. 18, 2015. EPA’s John Mabanglo (center) and AP’s Jeff Chiu (right) metup with PSBJ’s Anthony Bolante for a quick, pregame reunion pic. ‘Good seeing you Gents! Photo by Anthony Bolante / www.TheImageArsenal.com (c) 2015

Can you imagine that AFTER THIS GAME, I went and shot another photo assignment in Kent, Wash. of the company that manufactures the NFC Championship team T-Shirt?  Sheez!  #BreakingNews #NoRestForTheJournalismWicked

Photos by Anthony P. Bolante / www.TheImageArsenal.com (c) 2015.  FOLLOW me:  @TheImageArsenal


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