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Originally published January 18, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Page modified January 18, 2015 at 9:17 PM

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Seahawks fans’ dejection turns to elation: ‘It’s indescribable!’

Most Seahawks fans said they never gave up hope. Sunday’s miraculous finish leaves the 12’s screaming and scrambling to find Super Bowl tickets

Seattle Times staff reporter


Jim Garcia of Mill Creek hates to admit it, but as the fourth quarter was ticking away Sunday, with the Seahawks down by 12, he figured it was over.

“I thought we were done,” he said.

How could any team, he wondered, turn the ball over five times and still have a chance to beat the powerful Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game?

Minutes later, Garcia, 70, was jumping up and down like a teenager, green-blue hair flying.

“We’re going to the Super Bowl! We’ve done it! This team has earned it!” shouted Garcia, saying he hoped the excitement wouldn’t overtax the heart surgery he had recently. He said he has already made hotel reservations for Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona in two weeks.

“The players don’t give up. The 12s don’t give up,” said Fiona Watson, 32, of Issaquah. “We had to believe they would find a way.”

She attended the Seahawks’ first Super Bowl win in New Jersey last year with several members of her family, and hopes to get tickets to the upcoming title game.

Cheering fans filled nearby watering holes. At F.X. McRory’s, Sadie Phonpadith, 22, led her friends in a rowdy “SEA-HAWKS!” cheer. “It’s so great. It’s indescribable!” she said.

After a long afternoon of having little to cheer for, Seahawks fans erupted as their team went ahead for the first time with less than 90 seconds left in regulation. A Green Bay field goal created a 22-22 tie just before the clock ran out, but a quick overtime drive by the Seahawks sealed the 28-22 victory.

In the span of a few minutes, frustration turned to elation.

Before lightning struck for the Hawks, Christopher Jenkins, 43, a longtime Seahawks fan, could do little but shake his head as Green Bay went ahead 19-7 on a fourth-quarter field goal.

“I don’t know how to explain it. Russell Wilson just isn’t Russell Wilson today,” said Jenkins, wearing Wilson’s No. 3 on both his jersey and hat. Jenkins, who grew up in Seattle, now lives in Connecticut and traveled back to see this game and last week’s Seahawks victory over Carolina.

But many fans said they never let go of hope. At halftime, with the Seahawks down 16-0, Todd Holterhoff, a season-ticket holder since 2001, said he saw no reason to panic.

“You don’t win a game in the first quarter or the second quarter. ... You win it in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We’re going to come back. We’re going to make it dramatic.”

His wife, Melanie, said, “We need to wake up. We need to start playing. Thank God for the defense.”

Russell Wilson’s third interception, picked off in the end zone just when it looked like Seattle might score before halftime, was especially frustrating for fans.

“We have to hope Wilson can connect” in the second half, said Mike Smith, a Seahawks fan since he moved to Seattle from Chicago 15 years ago. “It’s going to be rough, but we’ve been down before.”

Seeing the Seahawks trailing 13-0 at the end of the first quarter was unsettling for Ron Brown, a 14-year season-ticket holder. “We look like crap. We need to get our offense on the field and give the defense some rest,” Brown said, taking a break to grab some fries.

Brown hung onto hope that the Seahawks he expected would show up.

“We’re a second-half team. We’ve seen that,” he said. “When all is said and done, we’ll win by three points.”

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