In what was anticipated to be an intense matchup between the Denver Broncos top-ranked offense and Seattle Seahawk No.1 ranked defense in Super Bowl XLVIII, it was the Seahawks dominating defense that shut down the Broncos high-octane offense.
It was the Legion of Boom that forced four turnovers and had constant pressure on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Seattle defense did not allow Denver to get a first down until the 10:30 mark of the second quarter and score until the last play of the third quarter on a 14-yard pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas.
The 12th man was also in full effect as evident by the first play from scrimmage as miscommunication between Manning and center Manuel Ramirez led to a mistimed hike that resulted in a safety.
The Seahawks defense clamped down on the Broncos in the first half as they forced tw0 interceptions from Manning that led to a pair of touchdowns for Seattle. The first resulted with a 37-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown rush by Marshawn Lynch to put his team up 15-0. Manning’s second interception occurred on the following drive after Lynch’s touchdown as it was picked off by Super Bowl MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith and returned 69 yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a commanding 22-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Here’s Smith’s interception:
The second half was no different for the Broncos as they allowed wide receiver Percy Harvin to score on a 87-yard kickoff return that increased the Seahawks lead 29-0. The offensive struggles continued for Manning and Denver as they committed two fumbles and a turnover on downs in the final two quarters of the game.
Watch Harvin’s kickoff return touchdown here:
As for Seattle, their offense came alive in the second half as quarterback Russell Wilson lead two scoring drives that resulted in a pair touchdown passes from the second-year quarterback. The first came on a 23-yard throw to Jermaine Kearse that gave his team a 36-0 lead midway through the third quarter. The latter put the icing on the cake as Wilson had a 10-yard pass to Doug Baldwin that increased the Seahawks’ lead to 43-8 with just under 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
It was the Seahawks’ night as they dominated in all three phases of the game. Manning and Denver’s offense just could not adjust or breakdown Seattle’s physical defense that made every first down hard to get and come by. As even when Manning had a promising driving going it ended abruptly in either a turnover or failed fourth down conversion.
It comes to no surprise that the Seahawks’ No.1 ranked defense gave the Broncos problems throughout the game. Their secondary that is led by three All-Pro players in Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, helped their top-ranked pass defense in the regular season to a league-leading 39 takeaways that included 28 interceptions.
Ultimately, what it came down to is that Denver’s offense could not handle Seattle’s defense, which set the course for a long night for Manning, who suffered his second Super Bowl loss in three career appearances. As for the Seahawks, a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII marked the franchise’s first championship in their 38-year history.
What this year’s Super Bowl proved was that the old adage that states “defense wins championships” truly applies more now than ever before as Seattle’s defense dominated from start to finish.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports