The San Francisco 49ers made a strong attempt at a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of the NFC Championship Game, but the Seattle Seahawks defense came up big at the right moment.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw a pass into coverage in the end zone on 1st-and-10 from the Seahawks' 18-yard line. It turned out to be a costly throw as Seahawks corner Richard Sherman deflected the ball away, and linebacker Malcolm Smith came up with the interception in the end zone.
Sherman was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, which included taunting 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree and making the "choke" sign:
UPDATE: Monday, January 20, 10:32 a.m. ET
The dislike between Sherman and Crabtree dates back to last summer, according to Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times:
Sherman has been upset with Crabtree since last summer. Both attended Arizona star receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s charity event. While there, Sherman went to shake Crabtree’s hand, and Crabtree tried to start a fight, according to Sherman’s older brother, Branton.
“I’m going to make a play and embarrass him,” Richard Sherman vowed that day.
--End of Update--
The penalty was meaningless, as a couple of kneel-downs ended the game, which sent the Seahawks to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.