This Super Bowl matched up the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos and I for one thought this was going to be a great game. There was lots of speculation leading up to this game as far as the weather was concerned. Will it snow? Will it rain? Will a huge snowstorm hit the area and force the game to be rescheduled? The answer to those questions was a resounding “NO!” The temperature was in the 40s and there was just a slight chance of precipitation.
Seattle won the toss and deferred to the second half. Kicker Steven Hauschka hit the opening kickoff six yards deep into the end zone and return man Trindon Holliday returned it to the 14. Quarterback Peyton Manning led the offense on to the field and started in the shotgun formation. As he called the signals, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over his head and it rolled toward the end zone. A mad scramble ensued and running back Knowshon Moreno fell on it for a safety. Well that most certainly was an original beginning to the Super Bowl. A grand total of 12 seconds had run off the clock and the Seahawks were already up 2-0.
Denver punter Britton Colquitt hit a 64-yard punt that was fielded by return man/wide receiver Golden Tate at the 16. He returned it to the 36 and quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense went to work. Running back Marshawn Lynch got the call on first down and was brought down after a gain of three yards. From the 39, wide receiver Percy Harvin ran up the left side for a gain of 30. That put the Seahawks at the Denver 31. A false start penalty moved them back five yards and that was followed by an incomplete pass to tight end Zach Miller. That was followed by a six-yard completion to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. On third and nine from the 30, Wilson fired a bullet to Kearse and he caught it for a gain of 12 yards and a first down at the 18. The next two plays gained four yards and on third and six from the 14, Wilson ran up the left side and was pushed out of bounds just before he got to the first down marker. Head coach Pete Carroll challenged the spot, but it was ruled that Wilson was still just short of the marker. Instead of going for it, Hauschka came into the game and his 31-yard field goal attempt was good. With 10:21 to go in the first quarter, the Seahawks led 5-0.
Hauschka sent the kickoff through the end zone, but the Seahawks were penalized for unnecessary roughness. That put the Broncos at their 35. But three plays gained just eight yards and they were forced to punt. The punt was fair caught by Tate at the Seattle 28-yard line. On third and seven from the 31, Wilson threw to his left and the ball was caught by Tate for nine yards and a first down at the 40. From the 40, Wilson found fullback Michael Robinson for seven yards. Lynch was stuffed for a loss of one on the next play, but Wilson found wide receiver Doug Baldwin across the middle for a gain of six. That was good enough for a first down at the Denver 48. From the 48, Harvin caught another pass for a gain of five. Then the Seahawks decided to get fancy and tried a crazy flea-flicker play that didn’t work. On third and five from the 43, Wilson floated a deep pass up the left side for Baldwin who hauled it in for a gain of 36 yards. A holding call moved them back ten yards and Lynch continued to struggle to get positive yardage. On third and 14, Wilson looked for Kearse in the back of the end zone. Kearse had possession of it for a second, but the ball was knocked out by linebacker Nate Irving. That meant it was time for another field goal. Hauschka made his 33-yard attempt and the Seahawks led 8-0 with 2:16 to go in the first quarter.
Aside from a five-yard completion to wide receiver Wes Welker, the Broncos still couldn’t get going. On second and five from the 25, Moreno ran up the left side and the ball came loose. The Broncos recovered it at the 23 and that set up a third and seven from the 23. Manning looked for tight end Julius Thomas and the pass was picked off by safety Kam Chancellor at the 39. He returned it two yards and the Seahawks set up shop at the Denver 37. Another end around to Harvin gained 15 yards and tight end Luke Willson caught a five-yard pass. Lynch ran up the middle for a gain of six and a first down at the 11. Lynch was thrown for a loss of one on the next play, but Wilson found Baldwin for a gain of seven on second down. That set up a third and four from the five-yard line. Wilson threw to the back corner of the end zone for Tate, but the pass was incomplete. Then a flag appeared. Cornerback Tony Carter was flagged for pass interference and that gave the Seahawks a first down at the one-yard line. Two plays later, Lynch ran it in for the first touchdown of the game. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks led 15-0 with 12 minutes to go in the first half.
The Broncos started at their 16 and Manning went to the air immediately. Two completions to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and a short run by Moreno finally got the Broncos a first down at the 30. Two more passes to D. Thomas and another carry by Moreno netted another first down at the 40. On third and nine from the 41, Manning found Welker across the middle for a gain of 16 and the Broncos found themselves in Seattle territory. Another catch by D. Thomas and a short carry by running back Montee Ball moved them down to the 32. A holding penalty moved them back ten yards and a pass to tight end Jacob Tamme went for a loss of two yards. From the 44, Moreno ran for a gain of nine. That set up a third and 13 from the 35. The Seahawks brought some pressure and defensive end Cliff Avril got to Manning just as he let the ball go and it was picked off at the 31 by linebacker Malcolm Smith. That was bad for the Broncos and it got worse as Smith returned it all the way for a touchdown. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks went up 22-0 with 3:21 to go in the first half.
Holliday managed to return the ball to the 33 on the ensuing kickoff. It looked like he fumbled, but he was ruled down before the ball came loose. With time running short and knowing the walls were closing in, Manning knew he had to get his team into the end zone. He spread the ball around to three different receivers and they quickly moved down to the Seattle 27. An incomplete pass to J. Thomas, a six-yard catch by Moreno and a false start set up a third and nine from the 26. Manning dumped a short pass to Moreno that came up two yards short of the first down. What do you do now? Go for the field goal? No. Head coach John Fox decided to go for it and Manning looked for D. Thomas. The pass was incomplete and the Seahawks took over at their 19 with one minute to go in the half. Two carries by Lynch ran out the clock and the Seahawks led 22-0 at halftime.
For once, I actually enjoyed the halftime show. Good sound, good lighting and it was good to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a few minutes. Back to return the kickoff to start the second half was the dangerous Percy Harvin. Instead of trying to kick it through the end zone, kicker Matt Prater sent a knuckle-ball down the middle to keep the ball away from Harvin. Nice try, but Harvin still got his hands on it. He headed straight up the middle and returned it for an 87-yard touchdown. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks now led 29-0 with 14:48 to go in the third quarter. To open the game, the Seahawks scored 12 seconds into the first quarter. Then, they scored 12 seconds into the third quarter. Interesting.
It was officially time for the Broncos to get into “panic mode.” They went from their 23 to the Seattle 38 with little trouble. But the Seahawk defense stiffened and forced another punt. The punt was downed at the eight and on first down, Lynch got loose, but was tripped up at the 26. If he had broken one more tackle, he likely would have scored. That was the only eventful play of that possession and punter Jon Ryan got off a 45-yard punt that was fielded at the Denver 36 by return man/wide receiver Eric Decker. He returned it to the 45 and the Broncos had yet another opportunity to put some points on the board. On second and nine from the 46, Manning hooked up with D. Thomas for a gain of ten and a first down at the Seattle 44. From the 44, Manning hit D. Thomas in stride across the middle. As Thomas ran up the left side, the ball was knocked loose by cornerback Byron Maxwell and recovered by Smith at the 20 and he returned it seven yards. The Broncos were also flagged for unnecessary roughness and that gave the Seahawks a first down at their 42-yard line.
A short carry by Lynch and a 12-yard completion to Willson moved them to the Denver 43. From the 42, Wilson found wide receiver Ricardo Lockette for a gain of 19 and a first down at the 23. On the very next play, Wilson found Kearse on the right side and he was the recipient of some very poor tackling. That enabled him to find the end zone for another Seahawk touchdown. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks were now up 36-0 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Broncos started at their 20 and had no choice but to throw the ball on every down. Judging by the looks on their faces, they looked like they would rather not even finish the game. But completions to Welker, J. Thomas and Moreno had them moving in the right direction. A pass interference call gave them a first down at the Seattle 41. Two more catches by Welker and one by Tamme got them a first down at the 14. With the final seconds of the quarter ticking away, Manning took the snap and fired a strike to the end zone that was caught for a touchdown by D. Thomas. They decided to go for two and it was good as Manning hooked up with Welker again. At the end of the third quarter, the Seahawks led 36-8.
The Broncos tried an unsuccessful onside kick that was recovered at the Denver 48 by Miller. From the 48, backup running back Robert Turbin rumbled up the left side for a gain of 33 yards. But that was brought back by a holding call and it moved the Seahawks back to their 42-yard line. Miller caught a pass for ten yards and Tate added eight more to set up a third and two at the Denver 40. From the 40, Baldwin caught a six-yard pass for a first down at the 34. Then Kearse got in on the action again and made a nice catch for a gain of 24 yards. That set up a first and goal from the ten and Wilson found Baldwin who bounced off a couple of defenders and dove into the end zone. Hauschka made the point after and the Seahawks led 43-8 with 11:45 to go in the game. That 11:45 was also known as “garbage time.”
Neither team scored again and the Seattle Seahawks came away with a 43-8 thrashing of the Denver Broncos for their first Super Bowl win. Malcom Smith was named MVP as he had a great game with an interception for a touchdown, a fumble recovery and six solo tackles. Their defense as a whole played very well. Although they registered only one sack, they pressured Manning throughout the game, forced four turnovers and rarely let the Denver receivers get loose for big gains. All in all, it was a very impressive performance by the Seahawks and the Broncos are now the only team to lose five Super Bowls. Their overall record in Super Bowls is 2-5.
For the Seahawks, Russell Wilson completed 18 of 25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 26 yards rushing on three carries. Doug Baldwin led the team in receptions with five and receiving yards with 66 and a touchdown. On the ground, Percy Harvin had the most rushing yards with 45 on two carries. The Broncos did a good job of containing Marshawn Lynch as he finished the game with 39 yards on 15 carries. 18 of those yards came on one carry. All totaled, the Seahawks rushed for 135 yards on 29 carries. Defensively, Kam Chancellor and Malcolm Smith tied for the lead in solo tackles with six.
For the Broncos, Peyton Manning completed 34 of 49 for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Demaryius Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions and he also had the most receiving yards with 118 and a touchdown. There isn’t much to talk about when it comes to the Denver ground game. Knowshon Moreno led the team in rushing with 17 yards on five carries. They finished the game with a total of 27 yards on 14 carries. Defensively, linebacker Danny Trevathan led the team in solo tackles with seven and he had one tackle for a loss.
And that’s that. I enjoyed writing these playoff articles and I’ll be returning as the Raider Guy later in the year. Up next is the combine, then free agency starts and then the draft will take place in May. Until then, take it easy.