Seahawks embarrass Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII
The only thing frozen solid at the NFL’s first outdoor Super Bowl staged in the north was the Denver Broncos offence.
And special teams.
And coaching staff.
Ice sculptures in orange, melted by the hot-as-hell Seattle Seahawks, who won Super Bowl XLVIII, 43-8.
From the first scrimmage play of the game on an unseasonably mild Sunday night in the New Jersey swampland, iconic quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos proved no match for Seattle’s fantastic collection of play-making, in-your-grill pounders on defence.
After three possessions and seven plays, Denver had fumbled, punted, been intercepted and seen one of their toughest, biggest playmakers — Demaryius Thomas — get lit up over the middle on a crushing hit by safety Kam Chancellor.
Could Seattle’s great defence have gotten off to a better start?
“No way,” star cornerback Richard Sherman told me at his post-game news conference. “That was a dream start, to tell you the truth. You couldn’t have scripted it any better.
“We really got into our rhythm. (Safety) Earl (Thomas) really made a great statement before the game. He told us: ‘Let’s get lost in the game. Let’s show them what we’re really about. Let’s get in our zone and never come out of it. Let’s play our best football.’”
Seattle cruised into halftime up 22-0 — the largest lead at the break in the Super Bowl in 32 years.
It really was a throwback Super Bowl. Remember, when all those uber-hyped games of the 1970s and ’80s invariably ended in a complete blowout?
This was that. Denver is now 0-4 in Super Bowls when it wears orange (2-1 in blue or white). Like in those ’80s debacles.
The Broncos also became the first team in NFL history to lose five Super Bowls, breaking the tie with Buffalo, Minnesota and New England, who all have lost four.
We’d been spoiled these past 10 or 15 years, hadn’t we, when seemingly nothing but nail-biters capped the NFL season.
If Manning and the Broncos really believed they had enough cold-cranking amps to get momentum started in their direction to open the third quarter, Percy Harvin pulverized those plans.
The spectacular speedster — who had played in parts of only two games this season, due to his slow recovery from summer hip surgery, and because he suffered a concussion in Seattle’s first playoff game — snared Matt Prater’s third-quarter kickoff, wiggled through a hole and exploded 87 yards for a touchdown.
Harvin effectively iced the game.
On a mild mid-winter evening (it was 9C at kickoff) before 82,529 at MetLife Stadium, Seattle grabbed this game by the throat — and the overwhelmed, stunned Broncos.
With this performance, they made a strong case to be remembered as one of the greatest defences in league history.
Denver’s first snap of the game flew way over Manning’s head and into the end zone. Running back Knowshon Moreno scrambled back and dived on it for a safety — 12 seconds into the game, as ominous a start imaginable.
It was also the fastest opening score, if smallest, in Super Bowl history.
Seattle’s second-year quarterback Russell Wilson appeared nervous at the outset, missing a couple of easy passes on the Seahawks’ first possession. But he quickly settled down and was by far the more effective, poised passer — and the most careful with the football throughout. He threw for two touchdowns.
Manning struggled all game long. On Denver’s seventh play, he badly missed well-covered tight end Julius Thomas on a medium-depth crossing route — throwing high and behind him. Chancellor easily intercepted and returned to the Denver 37.
Seattle cashed in a few plays into the second quarter, on Marshawn Lynch’s one-yard plunge, to go up 15-0.
It was crucial now that Manning and the Broncos answer with something, anything, other than blunders.
Again, they couldn’t. Seattle’s young, swarming, smashmouth defence just wouldn’t let them.
At the Seattle 35, on third-and-13, the Seahawks pass rush caved in again around Manning. A Seattle defensive lineman tipped Manning’s pass, the ball fluttering far short and wide of the intended receiver.
Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted, and returned it 69 yards for a pick-six, to blow the game open, 22-0, at halftime.
All the talk before the game had been about whether Manning could win his second Super Bowl. Instead, Wilson now has as many Super Bowl victories as the 37-year-old league MVP, who’s in his 16th year.
Denver didn’t score until the last play of the third quarter, a 14-yard touchdown throw from Manning to Demaryius Thomas.
Manning set a Super Bowl record with his 34 completions.
Cold comfort for the future Hall of Famer, on one of the most nightmarish nights of his career.
CHECK OUT THE LIVE CHAT THAT RAN DURING THE GAME
Is Manning's legacy tarnished?