January 13

Brady-Manning matchup adds spice to title games

The Patriots' QB holds a 10-4 edge in head-to-head matchups, but they each have a win against the other in an AFC championship game.

By Dennis Waszak Jr.
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, speak in the middle of the field after the Patriots beat the Broncos in a 2012 game. The quarterbacks will face each other for the 15th time in the AFC championship game next Sunday.

2012 Associated Press File Photo

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“I think we’re the two teams everyone was looking at from the beginning,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out game.”

Count on it.

The previous few games between the NFC West rivals have been full of contempt, with shoving, pushing and arguing spicing things up. Even the coaches don’t care for each other.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh have been rivals dating to their days as opponents in the old Pac-10. In 2009, after Harbaugh’s Stanford team ran up the score on Carroll’s Southern California squad in a 55-21 rout, the two met at midfield and an annoyed Carroll barked, “What’s your deal?”

That’s carried over to the NFL – and it might get ramped up again during the week.

“We’re healthy, we’re a great team and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get that ring,” 49ers running back Frank Gore said. “We’re playing great ball.”

Good thing, since the 49ers have committed seven turnovers and been outscored 71-16 in their past two trips to Seattle, including a 29-3 Week 2 loss in September.

“We’re a different team than we were the first time we played them up there,” Kaepernick insisted.

The 49ers will get a chance to prove that next weekend.

At Seattle, Steven Hauschka kicked three field goals in blustery conditions, and Lynch capped the victory with a 31-yard scoring run with 2:40 left that Carroll celebrated by jumping into offensive line coach Tom Cable’s arms.

“It feels awesome,” fullback Michael Robinson said, “but this doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win next week.”

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