The Sports Xchange, Published February 02 2014
Seahawks crush Broncos for first Super Bowl title
The Seahawks broke the game open with a 69-yard interception return late in the second quarter and drove a stake through any thoughts of a comeback on the first play of the second half.
Denver’s record-setting offense was diffused by four turnovers – two interceptions and two fumbles – that led to 21 points. Seattle’s vaunted secondary smothered Manning’s receivers and the Seahawks completely erased the running game of the Broncos (27 yards on 14 carries).
“I think we played a great football team,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said. “We weren’t sharp offensively from the very get-go. Give Seattle a lot of credit. They are an excellent football team, and they caused a lot of our mistakes.”
Percy Harvin’s 87-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter gave Seattle a 29-0 lead.
“Being injured all season took a toll on me,” Harvin said. “It was a counter-right. We hadn’t put it on film all year, so we knew there was a great chance that we would catch them off-guard. Those guys pretty much cleared out the whole right side of the field.”
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson played with resounding calm. He finished with a 123.1 pass rating and completed 18 of 25 passes, including 11 in a row. Wilson threw two touchdown passes before he joined running back Marshawn Lynch on the sideline to start Seattle’s celebration with three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Lynch (15 carries for 39 yards) was corralled by a defense committed to stopping the run.
“It was a really good game for our guys on all sides, not just defensively,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Carroll became the third coach to win a college football national title and a Super Bowl, joining Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson.
“We had a lot of hard work,” said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter with what proved to be a high ankle sprain. “I hope we etched our names in the history books. This is the No. 1 offense in the history of the NFL, and we were able to play a good game against them. Peyton Manning may go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game, and we’re just blessed to have an opportunity to play against them. I can’t believe it.”
The Most Valuable Player was Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith, who returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and recovered a Denver fumble.
Manning set a record for pass completions in a Super Bowl with his 33rd in the fourth quarter, but Denver never mounted a threat. The Broncos’ lone consolation came on the final play of the third quarter. Manning completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to avoid the first shutout in Super Bowl history. Denver tacked on a two-point conversion pass to wide receiver Wes Welker to reach the final 15 minutes trailing 36-8.
Harvin, who also had a 30-yard run in the first quarter of just his third game with the team this season because of injuries, fielded the second-half kickoff on a bounce and picked up two blocks running to his left for the score.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell punched the ball out of Thomas’ hands for the Seahawks’ third takeaway in the game – and 46th this season – with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left in the third quarter. Wilson needed only six plays to lead his team 58 yards, finding wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for a 23-yard touchdown reception and a 36-0 Seahawks advantage.
Manning finished 34-for-49 for 280 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas made 13 catches for 118 yards and one score.
Manning, who lost a fumble on fourth down in the fourth quarter, was intercepted twice in the first half, and that followed his nightmare start. On the first play from scrimmage, Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball from Denver’s 14-yard line to the right of an unsuspecting Manning – the quarterback took a step to his left to give instruction to his left tackle – and running back Knowshon Moreno recovered in the end zone. The score was the fastest in NFL history – 12 seconds into the game.