The Seattle Seahawks turned the Super Bowl into a Super Rout, scoring early often and late in a 43-8 trouncing of the Denver Broncos.
The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown in overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning with a masterful defense, the NFL’s stingiest. Seattle never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.
Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas.
Punctuating Seattle’s dominance were a 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith to make it 22-0, and Percy Harvin’s sensational 87-yard kickoff runback to open the second half. Smith was the game’s MVP, the first defender in 11 years to win the award.
The loss by the Broncos again raised questions about Manning’s ability to win the biggest games. He is 11-12 in the postseason, 1-2 in Super Bowls. After the game, he brushed off questions about his legacy.
Manning never looked comfortable against a defense some will begin comparing to the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens – other NFL champions who had runaway Super Bowl victories.
Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season. Russell Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including playoffs, had a 23-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the third quarter to make it 36-0.
Wilson also hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score in the final period in what had become one of the most lopsided Super Bowls. For the fifth time in six meetings between the NFL’s No. 1 offense and defense, the D dominated.
Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls. The victory was particularly sweet for Carroll, who was fired in 1994 by the Jets, led the Patriots for three seasons and again was canned. After a short stint out of coaching, he took over at Southern California and won two national titles.
No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before – not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree temperature at kickoff.
Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 – their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn’t score in a half.
On that first play for the Broncos, Manning stepped up toward the line just as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. It flew past his incredulous quarterback into the end zone, where Knowshon Moreno dived on it for a safety.
A mere 12 seconds in, Seattle led 2-0 with the quickest score in Super Bowl history, beating Chicago’s Devin Hester’s kickoff return to open the 2007 game - against Manning’s Colts.
Steven Hauschka, who missed only 2 of 40 field goals entering the game, made a 31-yarder for 5-0 and a 33-yarder for 8-0 after Doug Baldwin toasted 15-year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, in his first Super Bowl, for 37 yards on third down.
Then the Seahawks began scoring touchdowns.
Manning’s third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver’s 37. Harvin, finally healthy after a virtually wasted first season in Seattle, sparked the short drive with a 15-yard burst, and a third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter gave Seattle the ball at the 1.
Marshawn Lynch scored to make it 15-0. Then Smith, with a play emblematic of the best defense the NFL has seen in years, made his second huge play in two weeks.
Cliff Avril got to Manning’s arm as he was throwing, the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD.
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