SEATTLE (CBS Seattle/AP) — 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.

Moments after Richard Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick’s pass to teammate Malcolm Smith for the clinching interception, the All-Pro cornerback jumped into the stands behind the end zone, saluting the Seahawks’ raucous fans. With 12th Man flags waving everywhere, and “New York, New York” blaring over the loudspeakers, CenturyLink Field rocked like never before.

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But controversy would begin to brew when Sherman ran over to 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who the pass was intended for, at the end of the play, patted him on the behind, offered his hand, and apparently said something to him that caused Crabtree to shove his hand in Sherman’s face. Sherman claimed he told the receiver, “Good game.”

Immediately after the game, Sherman slammed Crabtree, telling Fox’s Erin Andrews, “Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that is the result you’re gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!”


“Don’t you open your mouth about the best, or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick!” Sherman added to Andrews.

Crabtree bit back at Sherman after learning of his comments.

“Sherman made a good play. That’s probably the only play he made all game,” he said. “I ain’t getting into that, he knows what time it is.

“That’s one play, you know what I’m saying? … He’s a TV guy, I’m not a TV guy. I play ball,” said Crabtree.

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In post-game interviews, Sherman then continued his rant on Crabtree.

“I was making sure everyone knew Crabtree was a mediocre receiver, and when you try the best corner in the game with a mediocre receiver, that’s what happens. I appreciate that he knows that now. There has been a lot of talk from him running his mouth about me,” he said. “”He wouldn’t make the top 20 of NFL receivers. If any team had a chance to pick Crabtree, they wouldn’t draft him.”

The back-and-forth between the two moved to Twitter after the game.

Sherman had two assisted tackles in the game but helped the Seahawks defense hold Kaepernick to only 153 passing yards.

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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