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Seahawks open 2nd half with 'Beast package'

SEATTLE -- Call it the Beast Package for Beast Mode.

After a stagnant first half on offense, the Seahawks began their first drive of the third quarter in a "heavy set"--using an extra offensive lineman to block for running back Marshawn Lynch in Sunday's NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.

That extra blocker, rookie Alvin Bailey, didn't play a single snap in Seattle's divisional round victory over New Orleans a week earlier. But the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Bailey, lining up as a sixth lineman, had a key block in the middle of the field to spring Lynch for a 40-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, tying the score 10-10.

Bailey wound up playing about a dozen snaps in the Seahawks' 23-17 victory over the 49ers, sending Seattle to its second Super Bowl in franchise history. It was the most Bailey had played since the Seahawks' Week 10 victory at Atlanta.

"It's a blessing, man. It's a blessing," Bailey said. "I've been playing football my whole life and I haven't been on a team this close, ever. The way we go about our work, the way we handle our business, we fight for each other. … I'm just ecstatic right now. It's an amazing feeling to play for a Super Bowl."

The Seahawks had used the jumbo package on occasion this season--mostly in goal-line situations--but never as much as they did Sunday. Bailey had his number called as much as anyone at CenturyLink Field: "Number 78 reports as eligible," referee Gene Steratore announced nearly every time the rookie from Arkansas entered the field.

Bailey chuckled. "After a while, (Steratore) kind of realized what was going on. Once I'd run on the field, I'd point at him."

Another rookie lineman, Michael Bowie, was inactive Sunday--a surprise after he had started at left guard for Seattle's victory over New Orleans.

James Carpenter started at left guard, and Paul McQuistan also took a number of snaps there Sunday.

FORMER HUSKY HEADED TO SUPER BOWL

Jermaine Kearse was a freshman when the Washington Huskies went 0-12 in 2008. "Thanks for the reminder," he said.

Now, Kearse is going to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Feb. 2.

"It's crazy (coming from) 0-12 in college," he said. "But that season taught me a lot. It taught me how to deal with adversity, to continue to push through that adversity no matter what's going on."

The second-year receiver from Lakes (Wash.) High School, who went undrafted out of UW, hauled in the go-ahead touchdown reception from Russell Wilson on fourth down at the 13:44 mark of the fourth quarter.

After the game, in a celebratory Seahawks locker room, Kearse posed for pictures with Seattle pop star Macklemore.

Kearse is part of an oft-criticized Seattle receiving corps. He said he had heard one critic call the receivers "pedestrian" last week.

"Which is cool," Kearse said. "I mean, I'll be a pedestrian walking my way to New York."

MACKLEMORE'S SET

Macklemore performed a six-minute set with his producer, Ryan Lewis, during halftime, then raced down from the suite to the field in the final minutes, cursing at a television outside the Seahawks' locker room during the 49ers' final drive.

"Get him!" he yelled at the TV, as San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick scrambled away from the Seattle defense.

Macklemore ended up with a close-up view near the southwest end zone when Kaepernick's pass was tipped by Richard Sherman and intercepted in the end zone by Malcolm Smith, sealing the Seattle victory in the final minute.

"It didn't look like a touchdown to me--it looked liked Sherm was going to do his thing, which he did," Macklemore said in the Seahawks locker room later. "I know this is a celebration. We are a city that rallies around local talent, and there's no better definition of that than these Seattle Seahawks. I'm just so proud of these dudes."

Macklemore said he will postpone a planned trip to India with his fiancee to attend the Super Bowl. "She's going to hate me," he joked.

Broncos open as favoritesIn a matchup featuring Denver's top-ranked offense against Seattle's top-ranked defense, the Broncos opened as a 2-point favorite in the early Las Vegas betting line Sunday night.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, 37, will be trying for his second Super Bowl victory.

"I think it's an extraordinary opportunity to go against a guy that set all the records in the history of the game, and the incredible production that they put up this year," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "What a great challenge. He deserves to be there because of what he's done this year with his team and that whole club, but we're not going to take this challenge lightly.

"We're going to go after this thing, and we're not going into this game any other way but thinking that we're going to win."

(c)2014 The Seattle Times

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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