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The Carolina Panthers built a 31-0 halftime lead, and held on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 31-24 and move on to the NFC Championship.
Jonathan Stewart, returning from a foot injury, scored two touchdowns after jumpstarting the Panthers with a 59-yard sprint on their first play. Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and fellow All-Pro Luke Kuechly ran in an early interception for a score as Carolina built a 31-0 advantage.
The Seattle Seahawks rallied back within seven points as Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes, two to Jermaine Kearse. An onside kick with 1:11 remaining in the game was covered by Panthers' linebacker Thomas Davis
The Seahawks got two touchdowns in the first 7:20 of the third quarter. Finally with time to throw, Russell Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 13-yard score and rookie Tyler Lockett for 33 yards, making it 31-14 — and making the full house at Bank of America Stadium unnerved.
When the Seahawks succeeded on a fake punt from their 23, an epic comeback seemed possible. That drive stalled, but with Carolina's offense sputtering, Seattle later got closer on Kearse's 3-yard catch of a jump ball against All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman.
"Man, it was like a bend, but don't break. It was really excruciating to watch," Cam Newton said. "It was a tale of two halves and we've got to be better than that."