The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl in the most complete manner possible, defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. It was a shocking result, and one few saw coming. But maybe we should have?
In winning the championship, the youthful Seahawks dominated in a way few have, especially on defense. It harkened back to the ‘80s and ‘90s when the NFC dominated, mostly in blowout games. The 35-point margin tied for the third largest in a Super Bowl and was the most lopsided in 21 years. The defensive annihilation was reminiscent of the ’85 Bears. Though Denver totaled 308 yards on the night, very few came when they mattered.
Peyton Manning actually set a Super Bowl record with 34 completions—what has to amount to one of the most meaningless records imaginable. The Seahawks dictated the terms. All the Broncos had were very short passes. When a longer pass was attempted, it did not look good. The truth is that Peyton Manning showed his rapidly approaching football mortality in this game. His passes lacked zip, and his deeper throws were short. The signs of this had been there in Denver’s run through the AFC. It was lit up like the Manhattan skyline Sunday night.
It was also basically a case of one team at their absolute greatest, and another team at their absolute worst—all at the same time. Only 12 seconds into the game, while in check mode, Peyton watched the shotgun snap fly past his head. The ball was recovered by Denver for a Seattle safety. This clumsy beginning seemed to be about as good as it got for the Broncos.
The defense played hard for Denver as Seattle failed to score touchdowns on their first two possessions. At 8-0 down the Broncos were still alright, but when Peyton threw a duck over the middle near the end of the first quarter, intercepted by Kam Chancellor, the mood definitely turned deep and dark for Denver. What came later was imminently predictable.
Denver moved the ball (taking over eight minutes off the clock with nothing but their dinks and dunks) when Cliff Avril charged in, deflected Manning’s pass at the line which was intercepted by Malcolm Smith and returned 69 yards for a touchdown that made it 22-0.
Another ill-fated drive closed the half without even a field goal attempt, and it was 22-0 as Bruno Mars wowed the crowd. The Red Hot Chili Peppers forgot to plug in for halftime.
Any and all hope for Denver was lost as the X-factor. Percy Harvin returned the pop-up kickoff 87 yards for the touchdown that broke the Broncos, 12 seconds into the second half.
The rest of the game was a mere formality that left advertisers wondering why they had decided to pay the $4 million for a 30-second spot that no one was around to watch, except those who only watch the commercials—but that is another topic for another day. Seattle amassed the largest ‘to-nothing’ lead in Super Bowl history at 36, before Denver finally scored on the last play of the third quarter.
Malcolm Smith, as representative of the great defense, won the MVP. Russell Wilson was a strong 18-for-25 in becoming the fourth second-year QB to win the championship.
As one of the youngest champions ever, Seattle figures to be in contention for years to come. Denver is left with questions and an anxious physical evaluation for Peyton Manning in March.