By David Krueger and Todd Fredrickson Herald Writers
SEATTLE — It didn’t take long after being crowned National Football Conference champions for the Seattle Seahawks to look at their next opponent.
“Omaha! Omaha!” the catchphrase of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, was echoing in the locker room as several Seahawks talked about going up against the Broncos and the No. 1 offense in the National Football League in the Super Bowl.
“It’s the No. 1 offense, you could say that (the defense is excited),” said Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. “But we’re going to play our ball and we’re not worried about the other side right now. We’re going to focus on getting better and correcting the mistakes we’ve got. … I’m just looking forward to the challenge. I think (Manning is) a great quarterback and a great person.”
Said Chancellor’s fellow safety Earl Thomas: “It’s all about ‘separate yourself.’ As a competitor, you always want to play the best.”
Unlike in recent Super Bowls, this game will be played outdoors, with forecasts in East Rutherford, N.J. expected to feature a high of 37 degrees and a low of 25, with a possibility of rain and snow.
The Seahawks, being an outdoor team, feel they’re built for such a game.
“Well yeah man,” said defensive end Michael Bennett. “We are ready for it. Whatever happens, we just want to be there and we don’t care about the weather. We can’t make excuses about the weather. We just want to go out there and win the game.”
Allen good luck charm
For the second time as owner of the Seattle Seahawks, Paul Allen raised the celebrated 12th Man Flag at the National Football Conference championship.
And for the second time as owner of the Seahawks, Allen was on the field afterwards celebrating a win.
Allen improved to 2-0 in NFC Championships were he raised the 12th Man Flag with Seattle’s 23-17 victory over San Francisco Sunday night. The owner also raised the flag before the Seahawks defeated Carolina 34-14 on Jan. 22, 2006.
“@Seahawks How about the #12thMan propelling us to #SuperBowl !!!” Allen tweeted after the game. “So Happy for the city, state, region and everyone that supported the team!”
After the victory was secured, Allen was presented the George Halas Trophy, given annually to the NFC champion, by former Seattle owner John Nordstrom.
Rooting for their rivals
In his postgame press conference San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis didn’t surprise anybody while talking about how tough the 49ers’ loss to Seattle in the NFC Championship was.
He may have, however, surprised a few reporters when he revealed he would be rooting for San Francisco’s rival in their next game.
“Someone had to win, someone had to lose. Unfortunately, we lost today and Seattle did what they need to do to win,” Willis said. “Them being in the NFC, and also our division, I wish them luck. I hope they go in and take care of business for the NFC side.”
‘Loophole in the rule’
It appeared that Seattle caught a break early in the fourth quarter, when a fumble the 49ers appeared to recover on replay remained with the Seahawks.
But the football gods made all right on the very next play.
One snap after Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse fumbled the ball that was given back to Seattle on San Francisco’s one-yard line, Seattle fumbled the ball away again when quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch bobbled a handoff.
The ball rolled 10 yards downfield to the 49ers’ 15-yard line, where San Francisco took over.
San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh said he wanted to challenge the first fumble but he was informed by officials that he was not allowed to challenge the play.
“That’s just the rule they said,” Harbaugh said. “Just a loophole in the rule. Once they rule it a fumble, it’s in the field of play and the ball is ruled recovered by the Seahawks and it can’t be reviewed by me. I asked someone what happens if I do challenge it and he said that you’ll lose a timeout and we won’t review it. He said we will not review the play.’”
Glad to see you
Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright saw his first action since breaking his foot in a game at San Francisco on December 8. Wright had surgery and missed the last three regular-season games and last week’s divisional playoff game against New Orleans.
Wright didn’t start Sunday, but was on the field for several snaps and made one tackle.
“We just hoped he would play a lot,” said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. “I’m glad he played football. It was great.”
Changing of the guards
James Carpenter was back in Seattle’s starting lineup at left guard a week after being on the inactive list against New Orleans. Meanwhile, Michael Bowie, who started last week’s game, was inactive Sunday. Carpenter alternated series with Paul McQuistan.
Seattle’s offensive line started shakily but got better as the game wore on.
In the first half, Seattle ran for only 36 yards and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked four times. In the second half, the Seahawks rushed for 79 yards and Wilson was not sacked.
Sunday’s attendance was 68,454, which set a CenturyLink Field record for a Seahawks game for the third time in five home games. The previous record of 68,388 was set last week, and that broke by one the team record that was set against New Orleans on Dec. 2.