(SEATTLE) — The Seattle Seahawks are heading to Super Bowl 48.
The NFL’s top-ranked defense forced three fourth-quarter turnovers as the Seahawks held off the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 on Sunday night in the NFC title game.
Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse with under 14 minutes remaining to give the Seahawks the lead for good.
The 49ers (14-5) needed a touchdown to win on the game’s final drive, but All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick’s pass into the hands of teammate Malcolm Smith for the game-clinching interception.
“This is really special,” added coach Pete Carroll. “It would really be a mistake to not remember the connection and the relationship between this football team and the 12th Man and these fans. It’s unbelievable.”
Kaepernick threw for 153 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss.
“I didn’t play good enough to win,” Kaepernick said. “I turned the ball over three times. I cost us this game.”
The Seahawks (15-3) will face the Denver Broncos in two weeks for the NFL title at MetLife Stadium.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
John Newsome and Anne Woolsey, CNN