It's what they've been waiting for

San Francisco led 13-10 at halftime. While rapper Flo Rida performed during intermission, the Niners players promised each other in the locker room that they would win the battles up front on both sides of the ball in the second half.

And they did. The Niners were the more physical team. They were the more aggressive team. The offense scored 10 points in the second half and the defense pitched a shutout, and with that San Francisco was headed to its destiny.

"We expect this," Whitner said. "We've been here. This is not our first time. We're not excited. We don't have Flo Rida coming in playing at halftime [and] all those different things, because we expect to be here. … I don't know if it was their Super Bowl or not, but it was just another game to us.

"Until we get back to the Super Bowl and bring that trophy home, we're going to take all these games just like another game."

That means next Sunday, too.

"The team's excited about moving on," Harbaugh said. "This is a tournament, much like playground basketball: Winners stay and play, losers go home. We want to keep playing."

Seattle and San Francisco split its regular-season games, with the Seahawks winning at home in Week 2, 29-3, when the Niners were without Crabtree and Davis got hurt. San Francisco won at home in Week 14, 19-17, with a team that more closely resembles the one it has now.

It should be fun. It should be heated. It should be close. Each team knows the other so well: coaches, players and front-office executives. And there is no love lost.

"It's going to be pretty chippy," San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley said. "I think the refs are going to be ready for it, and they'll know it. That's just playoff football. Everybody's trying to go hard and sometimes you don't hear the whistle. Sometimes you do.

"It's do or die, and you've got to go until the absolute last second, and everybody knows that."

It is the NFC championship game, but it is more than that. It is Seattle-San Francisco, Take III. Win or go home. What could be better than that?

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