|Date of game: 2/2/2014
Recap: Denver vs. Seattle
East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The Seattle Seahawks rode the NFL's best defense to the franchise's first Super Bowl title.
Peyton Manning? He never came close to winning his second.
Seattle scored 12 seconds into each half and racked up 21 points off turnovers on the way to a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
Percy Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return touchdown to start the second half came after Seattle also scored 12 seconds into the game on a snap that sailed over Manning's head and into the end zone. The safety counted as the Super Bowl's fastest-ever points.
Manning might have set passing and touchdown records in a dream regular season for the highest-scoring offense of all-time, but his third Super Bowl was a nightmare from start to finish.
"Giving them the lead played into their hands," Manning said. "That's what they do to a lot of teams. If you give them a lead it certainly benefits their defense."
On the field his brother Eli calls home as quarterback of the New York Giants, Manning threw two interceptions in the first half and both were turned into touchdowns by the Seahawks.
Marshawn Lynch scored on a 1-yard run after the first pick and Malcolm Smith returned the second 69 yards for a 22-0 halftime lead. Cliff Avril hit Manning on the throw and Smith stepped in front of the floating pass.
"I just kind of attacked it and took off," said Smith, who also recovered a fumble later and was named the game's MVP.
It was a red-hot start for Seattle in the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather city.
The climate wasn't a factor for either team. After months of speculation that the game would be marred by bad weather, especially during a winter that has seen so much of it, the temperature at kickoff inside MetLife Stadium was 49 degrees.
The game dodged an approaching storm that was forecasted to dump snow on the area overnight and into Monday with a potential accumulation of several inches.
Instead, the Seahawks piled it on.
Harvin, back after missing the NFC title game with a concussion, fielded a short, bouncing kickoff after halftime and slipped at least three would-be tacklers for a shocking 29-0 lead.
"This was a dominant performance from top to bottom," Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said. "That's what this team is all about."
The Seahawks didn't have their "12th Man" -- the spirited home fans who have turned Seattle's CenturyLink Field into one of the NFL's toughest venues.
It only seemed like they were playing with an extra man on defense.
Viral-video star Richard Sherman was knocked out late with an ankle injury, but by then the Seahawks didn't need him.
Not after fellow Seattle corner Byron Maxwell poked the ball from Demaryius Thomas' hands for a fumble that led to Russell Wilson's first Super Bowl touchdown pass, a 23-yard throw to Jermaine Kearse to make it 36-0.
Thomas caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Manning at the end of the third quarter and the Broncos got the two-point conversion on Wes Welker's catch, their only points of the game.
But Wilson and the Seahawks came right back for another score. The second-year quarterback hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard touchdown for the final score.
It was the first Super Bowl title for the Seahawks in two appearances.
Wilson -- the former third-round pick -- was 18-of-25 for 206 yards and Lynch rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries, never breaking off one of his "Beast Mode" runs.
Seattle didn't need one.
"This is an amazing team," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. "They've never taken a step sideways or backwards in getting to where they are now."
The Broncos fell to 2-5 in seven Super Bowls. The two wins came in consecutive seasons in 1998-99 behind quarterback John Elway, now the team's executive VP of football operations.
They have another all-time quarterback in Manning, who has led the Broncos to the AFC's No. 1 seed in both of his seasons as their quarterback after missing his last year with the Indianapolis Colts following several neck surgeries.
Manning, 37, was trying to become the first quarterback to lead two franchises to a Super Bowl win and was attempting to match brother Eli's two NFL titles.
He threw for 280 yards, completing 34-of-49 passes, and is now 1-2 in three Super Bowls after going 1-1 with Indianapolis. Manning won his record fifth NFL MVP award after throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns in the regular season, both league records.
He scoffed at a question asking if Sunday's loss was "embarrassing."
"I think we played a great football team," Manning said. "I think we needed to play really well to win and we didn't come anywhere close to that."
Manning said the high snap on the game's first play was "a cadence issue." Set up in the shotgun, he was walking toward the line and appeared to be calling out protection when center Manny Ramirez hiked the ball. Denver running back Knowshon Moreno recovered the ball in the end zone.
The safety came two seconds sooner than Devin Hester's 92-yard kickoff return for Chicago to begin Super Bowl XLI. Manning's Colts beat the Bears in that game.
"Not the way you want to start a game," said Manning. "For whatever reason we couldn't get it started after that."
Harvin, who played just one game in the regular season after having offseason hip surgery, had a 30-yard run on a reverse in the first quarter that led to Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal for a 5-0 lead.
On Seattle's next possession after a Denver three-and-out, Wilson dropped a pass into Baldwin's hands for a 37-yard gain down the left sideline to the Denver 6. The catch came against Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, trying to win a Super Bowl for the first time in his 15th NFL season.
The Seahawks settled for a 33-yard field goal after Broncos linebacker Nate Irving knocked the ball out of Kearse's hands on a third-down pass into the end zone.
Manning was then intercepted by safety Kam Chancellor, setting up Lynch's touchdown.
The Broncos were the first NFL team in history to score 600 points in the regular season, but they ran into a buzzsaw.
The Seahawks went their last eight games -- including the playoffs -- without giving up more than 20 points. They led the NFL during the regular season in total defense and points allowed.
"It was really a good game for our guys on all sides, not just defensively," said Carroll. "I'm proud of this entire team for what we were able to do all season long and especially here today."Game Notes
Moreno rushed five times for 17 yards in what could be the impending free
agent's last game for the Broncos ... It was the first time in 23 years the
NFL's top offense and top defense met in the Super Bowl ... The Broncos and
Seahawks have met 52 times in the regular season, the second-most by Super
Bowl opponents behind the Steelers and Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII (57
times) ... Among the eight highest-scoring teams to reach the Super Bowl, only
the 1999 "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams won ... Seattle lost to Pittsburgh in
the Super Bowl after the 2005 season, its only other appearance in the game.