Panthers beat Seahawks 31-24, head to NFC Championship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers built a 31-point halftime lead before barely holding off Seattle’s relentless comeback, beating the Seahawks 31-24 on Sunday to advance to the NFC championship game.

Carolina (16-1) will host Arizona (14-3) next week for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Jonathan Stewart, returning from a foot injury, scored two touchdowns after jumpstarting the Panthers with a 59-yard sprint on their first play. Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and fellow All-Pro Luke Kuechly ran in an early interception for a score as Carolina built a 31-0 advantage.

Seattle (11-7), showing its pedigree as two-time NFC champs, climbed back within seven points as Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns, two to Jermaine Kearse. An onside kick with 1:11 remaining was covered by All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis – and Charlotte could begin breathing again.

A limited number of tickets for the NFC Championship game will go on sale at 7pm, Sunday. Fans may purchase up to six tickets by phone or online through Ticketmaster.

7News had a crew at the game and you can expect all the highlights tonight at 11.

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