published Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Seahawks beat 49ers 23-17 to reach Super Bowl

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch tries to run past San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith during their NFL NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch tries to run past San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith during their NFL NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SEATTLE — Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and Seattle's top-ranked defense forced two late turnovers, lifting the Seahawks into their second Super Bowl with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship Sunday.

Seattle will meet Denver for the NFL title in two weeks in the New Jersey Meadowlands. It's the first trip to the big game for the Seahawks (15-3) since they lost to Pittsburgh after the 2005 season.

The conference champs had the best records in the league, the first time the top seeds have gotten to the Super Bowl since 2009.

San Francisco (14-5) led 17-13 when Wilson, given a free play as Aldon Smith jumped offside, hurled the ball to Jermaine Kearse, who made a leaping catch in the end zone.

Steven Hauschka then kicked his third field goal, and Seattle intercepted in the end zone on the 49ers' final possession.

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