From the first offensive play of the game, the Seahawks defense did all they could to give the Broncos their worst nightmare, and in the end it was never close, a Seattle 43-8 win in Super Bowl XLVIII.
The first play saw the Broncos, the #1 ranked offense in the NFL in 2013, begin with a series of mistakes that never seemed to end, as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over QB Peyton Manning’s head.
The result once Knowshon Moreno fell on it in the end zone was a safety, the first in a line of errors by a Broncos team that never stood a chance.
“They outplayed us in all three phases,” Broncos coach John Fox said.
The Seahawks kept the pressure on all night on both sides of the ball, making it a laugher by the half, going up 22-0.
“They have an excellent defense, they executed better than we did tonight,” Manning said.
“They made more plays on defense than we did, they forced some turnovers, probably a credit to them for forcing them.”
“The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense,” Hawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
A 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith, who was the games MVP, made it 22-0 at the half.
If the Broncos had any thoughts of a comeback, the thoughts were dashed as Hawks WR Percy Harvin went back with an 87-yard kickoff return to open the second half to make it 29-0.
“We had a bounce-right, counter-right. We were calling for it all week,” Harvin said.
“We knew it was a good chance. We had to put that on film all year and the guys did a heck of a job blocking. As soon as I caught the ball, it was open field.”
Manning never was able to get the Broncos offense going, and it showed in his numbers.
He threw for 280 yards in going 34-for-49, with two picks and one score. His 24.4 Total QBR was his lowest in a game this season, and the worst in the Super Bowl since Rex Grossman in 2006 (7.1).
The Broncos run game – awful. They ran for 27 yards on 14 carries and were a non-factor all evening long.
“I definitely didn’t expect this type of performance from our team. … It’s unfortunate, but it’s the way it played out,” Broncos CB Champ Bailey said.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the number one ranked offense in the league the entire season.
They watched a young Seattle D be more physical, push them around, and never give an inch as they dominated in one of the biggest Super Bowl blowouts of all-time.
“We just didn’t play like we’re capable of. I was disappointed. Hopefully, we’ll learn from this. It started tough. We just couldn’t seem to get it going,” Broncos VP John Elway said.
Russell Wilson was as cool as a cucumber, outplaying the future Hall of Fame Manning, throwing 18-for-25 for 206 yards with two touchdowns.
More importantly, he didn’t make critical mistakes that could have given the Broncos any sort of chance to be in the game.
“This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point, but they never have taken a step sideways,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.”
The Seahawks forced four turnovers, this while the Broncos had 26 all season.
It was the perfect game that wrapped up a magical season – one that could not have ended any better.