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Conference Championship Roundup

by Nick Ferraro

There has been a definitive lack of drama in this year’s playoffs, but that’s just fine with the Steelers and Seahawks. The drama was missing again this week as Pittsburgh took Denver out early in Denver while the Seahawks easily handled the road-weary Panthers. Both teams were very impressive in gaining a ticket to Super Bowl XL. The Steelers were installed as early four-point favorites, and they will provide the Steel City with its first championship in over 20 years.

Pittsburgh 34 Denver 17

The Steelers executed the passing game to perfection in the face of Denver’s blitz package. Pittsburgh converted 10 of 16 third downs for the game, many of which were for five or more yards. While Denver thwarted the Steelers running attack, they had no answer for Roethlisberger. Big Ben hit on 21 of 29 attempts including two first-half TD tosses as the Steelers capitalized on Denver’s turnovers to build a 24-3 lead.

Stats of the Game:

1. The Steelers turned Denver over four times on Sunday after Denver lost just six turnovers at home in nine previous games.
2. The Steelers 34 points matched the highest point total allowed by the Broncos on the year and was Denver’s highest point total allowed since week one.
3. With Hines Ward garnering most of the attention, Cedric Wilson and Antwaan Randle El combined for nine catches and 142 yards.

Seattle 34 Carolina 14

The NFC’s top seed advanced in convincing fashion over a tired Carolina team. The Panther offense, in high gear through the playoffs before Sunday, had no answers for the Seahawk defense. Carolina managed just 11 first downs and 212 yards of offense. The Seahawks controlled the game from early on as Shaun Alexander ran for 70 first-half yards helping Seattle build a 20-7 halftime lead. Jake Delhomme was picked off three times and completed just 15 of his 35 attempts.

Stats of the Game:

1. The Seahawks dominated the game with more than 41 minutes in time of possession.
2. The Panthers couldn’t put a drive together converting just 1 of 9 3rd downs.
3. Seattle ground out 190 rushing yards while limiting Carolina to just 36.

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