The Seattle Seahawks are waking up today as the new NFL Champions after simply overwhelming the Denver Broncos by the score of 43-8.
It was a game of firsts. The first time a team had scored in the opening minute of each half. The first time that a team had scored a safety, kick-off return, interception return in the same game, and the first Super Bowl win for the Seattle Seahawks.
In a game that was predicted to be close, it was anything but. The number one defence in the league was too much for the number one offence. Add to this a very balance and assured offence the Seahawks had this one in the bag at halftime as they claimed a 22-0 lead. The only question was how many they would win by and could they post a shutout.
A season in which Peyton Manning set all kinds of records, a quick glance at the stat line and you could be forgiven that he did a fine job and led his team to glory. 34 completions, a Super Bowl record, from 49 attempts, 280 yards, with one touchdown. 13 of his completions were to Demaryius Thomas, another record for the big game. It was however the turnovers that were forced from Manning that were to be both shocking and game deciding.
The tone was set on the very first play from scrimmage. Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning’s head, Knowshon Moreno dived on it in the end zone where he was tackled by Cliff Avril ,a man who would be instrumental later, for the opening score.
Seattle got the ball from the kick-off and showed they had poise and boldness as they drove down for a Steven Hauschka 31 yard field goal, Percy Harvin with a big gain on the drive with a 30 yard run on a reverse play. Denver then went three and out, and Seattle added another Hauschka field goal to lead 8-0, this time a 33 yarder after Jermaine Kearse dropped a short pass in the end zone.
Would Seattle live to regret not getting more points on the board as the game went on?
Before the first period was over the Seattle D made its first real stand up moment. There was some hard hitting early in the game, but when they forced a fumble. Moreno losing the handle when gang tackled, they could sense something was about to happen. Avril got a great push up the middle and was right in Manning’s face as he threw. The ball looped a little a Kam Chancellor was on hand to get the interception.
As far as first quarters go it the wasn’t the future Hall of Fame QB’s best fifteen minutes.
After a pass interference call in the back of the Broncos end zone, it was Marshawn Lynch’s moment, he plunged through the line and now the Seahawks were up 15-0 and starting to take control. Backed up to a 3rd and 13 after a tripping penalty, it was that man Avril again making a difference, hitting the now clearly out of sorts QB as he released, the pass sailed into game MVP Malcolm Smith’s arms and he rounded the pack to breeze into the end zone for a 69 yard interception return.
The Seahawks had bullied their way into a 22-0 lead. The Broncos were intimidated into believing the hype surrounding the Seattle D, and were now seeing first hand exactly why they are to be considered amongst the very best in NFL history. There was almost another twist as Trindon Holliday fumbled the ensuing kick-off, Seattle recovered but John Fox the Broncos coach had to challenge as his star return man was clearly down. With the call reversed the half came to a close.
No one saw that 30 minutes of football coming. It was simply stunning.
No sooner had we sat down for the second half kick-off, we were on our collective disbelieving feet aS Harvin ran back an intentionally shorter kick by Matt Prater 87 yards for the game killing touchdown. Any adjustments that were made at half time by Denver were now in tatters as they looked around their sideline at each other in complete bewilderment.
No team in Super Bowl history had overcome a greater deficit than ten points, and yet you still had the thought – at 29-0 down – that if the Broncos were to score quickly they still had a chance, given how explosive their offence had been all year. After an exchange of possessions those thoughts were completely extinguished. Thomas caught a high ball, landed, turned, straight into Byron Maxwell who punched the ball loose and there was Smith, the interception hero from the second quarter to pounce on it. Just a few short plays later Kearse caught a short over the middle pass, somehow stayed upright after being hit by two defenders simultaneously, spun 360 degrees and trotted into the end zone. Denver was shell shocked and their tackling was testament to this.
With the score at 36-0 and the game well and truly out of reach, all that was needed to complete the day for Seattle was for them to pitch a shut out. Thomas on his own record breaking day spoiled that dream when the Broncos finally got on the board, catching a high pass. Denver even had the nerve to convert the two-point try, Wes Welker grabbing the score to end the third quarter.
The fourth period of play was a case of damage limitations, Denver couldn’t quite manage that and Russell Wilson was imperious on the Seahawks last scoring drive of the game. He completed three rapid passes to three different targets, the last of which to Doug Baldwin for a 23 yard score.
The Manning nightmare was complete late in the game as once again he was hit hard, lost the ball, and Clinton McDonald fell on it.
Pete Carroll’s men had executed his philosophy and game plan to the tee. There was no need for trash talking, the team just let their play spell out the only thing that mattered.
Seattle Seahawks – World Champions