Jermaine Kearse has NFC Championship ball back

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

Jermaine Kearse has "The Ball" back. The fan who caught the winning ball in the stands met with Kearse at the Seahawks practice facility Friday afternoon and traded Kearse the ball for a signed game-worn jersey.

Jermaine Kearse has "The Ball" back.

The fan who caught the winning ball in the stands met with Kearse at the Seahawks practice facility Friday afternoon and traded Kearse the ball for a signed game-worn jersey.

Initially fan Scott Shelton wanted to keep the ball for his young son, but changed his mind after conversations with Kearse, a Lakes High and University of Washington graduate.

On the final play of Sunday’s NFC Championship, Russell Wilson hit Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown in overtime. The win Seattle to its second Super Bowl in two years.

"The will and the drive of these men is unbelievable," Wilson said of his teammates. "We always find a way to finish."

Seattle (14-4) trailed 19-7 with about four minutes remaining and had been ineffective on offense all game. Wilson finally put a drive together with passes to Doug Baldwin and Marshawn Lynch — initially ruled a touchdown but called back because he stepped out of bounds. Wilson finished with a 1-yard scoring run to cut the lead to 19-14 with 2:09 left.

The onside kick went high to Packers tight end Brandon Bostick, but he couldn't gather it, and Seattle's Chris Matthews recovered at the 50. The crowd, quiet since Seattle fell behind 16-0, came alive, and Lynch sped and powered his way to a 24-yard TD run. On the 2-point conversion, Wilson — about to be sacked — threw a desperate pass hauled in by Luke Willson to make it 22-19 with 1:25 remaining.

Aaron Rodgers, limping on an injured calf, calmly led the Packers (13-5) downfield to set up Mason Crosby's fifth field goal, a 48-yarder with 14 seconds to go to force overtime.

Then Wilson and Kearse struck, with Kearse — the target on all four of Wilson's interceptions — beating Tramon Williams on the winning pass.

It was the only pass Kearse caught on Sunday.

It was also Kearse who caught the winning score in last year's conference title win over San Francisco.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report. Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.