Prior to kickoff, the question was will Peyton Manning cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game? By halftime, the question became would the Broncos even score a point? And at the end, the Seahawks “Legion of Boom” defense silenced every critic known to man.
The Seattle Seahawks flat out dominated in all phases, blowing out the Denver Broncos 43-8 for the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl title.
With his pick six of Peyton Manning, Malcolm Smith, a former 7th round pick, was named MVP. Smith becomes the first defensive player to win the award since Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl 37 with the Buccaneers.
In what was supposed to be an instant classic, the matchup between the NFL’s number 1 offense against the NFL’s number 1 defense was a complete disappointment. The notion that “defense wins championships” reigned supreme.
The tone was set from the start. A bad snap resulting in a safety on the Broncos very first offensive play of the game gave the Seahawks a 2-0 just 12 seconds in. This was the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history. The Broncos never recovered.
Seattle then settled for field goals on back-to-back possessions to take an 8-0 lead. Peyton Manning started to feel the pressure to force the issue, and began turning the ball over. Manning was picked by Kam Chancellor at the Denver 39-yard line, the first of 4 Denver turnovers on the night. Eight plays later, Marshawn Lynch ran it in from 1-yard out to give Seattle a 15-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Manning’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Malcolm Smith who returned it 69-yards for a touchdown. That was Peyton’s 2nd pick of the half as Seattle took a commanding 22-0 lead into half-time.
The second couldn’t have started any worse for Denver. On the opening kick, the Broncos tried to keep the ball away from Percy Harvin, and failed. Harvin brought down a high hop and ran kick-off back 87-yards for a 29-0 Seahawks lead.
It’s been a long road back for Harvin, who took part in just 40 total plays prior to the Super Bowl while recovering from hip surgery and a concussion.
After a Demaryius Thomas fumble ended another promising Broncos drive, Russell Wilson decided it was time to make a play with his arm. Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse who broke free from 4 Broncos defenders for a 23-yard touchdown catch. That made it 36-0.
Then finally, finally, after 44 minutes and 58 seconds, the Broncos finally got on the scoreboard. Peyton Manning hit Demaryius Thomas on a 14-yard connection. Although in a loss, Thomas set the record for receptions in a Super Bowl with 13.
Russell Wilson took a back seat to the defense in this one, completing 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. More importantly, Wilson did not turn the ball over.
As for Manning, he did not come close to resembling the quarterback that led the most prolific offense in NFL history during the regular season. Manning completed 34 of 49 passes for 280 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. What impact this game will have on Manning’s legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game is unclear.
The Broncos now have the most losses in Super Bowl history with 5.