Seahawks dominate Broncos for 43-8 Super Bowl win
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter February 2, 2014 7:07PM
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Updated: February 3, 2014 12:41AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Be it numerology or kismet, it caused Pete Carroll to smile: The Seattle Seahawks, with their famed 12th Man, scored 12 seconds into Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, then again 12 seconds into the second half, sealing what would become a 43-8 thumping of the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium.
‘‘That,’’ said the Seahawks coach, neon green confetti pieces shaped like the Lombardi Trophy still in his hair, ‘‘is the magic of 12.’’
The Seahawks’ notoriously loud fan base is what made Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s voice blend into a cacophony on the game’s first play. His teammates were unable to hear the snap count, so Manning walked toward center Manny Ramirez to make a change. Ramirez snapped the ball past Manning’s temple, and it rolled into the end zone for a safety.
‘‘I don’t think it was disjointed from our point of view,’’ Carroll said. ‘‘For us, it was exactly the way we wanted it.’’
Broncos receiver Wes Welker said his team ‘‘didn’t prepare very well’’ for the noise, ‘‘and it showed.’’
At 12 seconds in, the score was the fastest in Super Bowl history, two seconds quicker than Devin Hester’s game-opening kick return for the Bears against Manning’s Indianapolis Colts in 2007.
Using field position from the ensuing kickoff, the Seahawks got a 31-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka and then, eight minutes later, a 33-yarder.
‘‘Certainly to get behind and give them the lead played into their hands,’’ Manning said.
Twelfth man? The Seahawks’ defense played as if it had an extra player on the field as it earned the franchise its first NFL title. The Seahawks forced four turnovers — as the Red Hot Chili Peppers sang at halftime, ‘‘Give it away, give it away, give it away now’’ — intercepting Manning twice and jarring loose two fumbles.
Manning went 34-for-49 for 280 yards but ran only seven offensive plays in the first quarter.
Most of his yards came in the second half as he chased a lead that grew as large as 36-0 before he found Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown on the last play of the third quarter.
Manning, who wrapped up the NFL’s greatest season for passing yards and touchdowns, set the Super Bowl completions mark, too, but contextually, he was harmless.
‘‘We needed to play really well to win,’’ said Manning, who trailed by 29 points or more Sunday for the first time since 2002, ‘‘and we didn’t come anywhere close to that.’’
On third-and-7 early in the second quarterlate in the first quarter, Manning threw a pass that was intercepted by safety Kam Chancellor. Seven plays later, Marshawn Lynch lunged for a 1-yard score to make it 15-0 Seahawks.
Manning’s ‘‘ducks’’ — a term popularized by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman this week — would yield more Seahawks points. With 3:36 left in the half, Manning was hit by Cliff Avril as he threw, and the ball wobbled into the arms of outside linebacker Malcolm Smith, who ran it back 69 yards for a touchdown.
Smith, a seventh-round pick in 2011 who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, also recovered a fumble and was named the MVP.
Needing a score to swing momentum on the next drive, the Broncos eschewed a field-goal try, and Manning threw an incompletion on fourth-and-2 from the Seahawks’ 19. The Broncos went into halftime down 22-0, with Manning sporting a quarterback rating of 46.3.
Any hope for a comeback was gone as fast as Percy Harvin’s navy-and-white blur on the opening kickoff of the second half. Harvin, who played only two games this season because of hip and head injuries, returned the boot 87 yards to increase the lead to 29-0.
‘‘We got kicked in the chin,’’ Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips said.
Harvin was the game’s leading rusher, too, on two fly sweeps for 45 yards.
‘‘So many guys made so many plays,’’ second-year quarterback Russell Wilson said. ‘‘It’s unbelievable.’’
Wilson comported himself like a veteran, completing 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns and a 123.1 quarterback rating. The offense didn’t turn the ball over and Wilson was not sacked as the Seahawks converted 7 of 12 third downs, including four successful tries in the first quarter.
Wideouts Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse each caught a touchdown pass. No Seahawks receiver had more than Baldwin’s 66 yards.
‘‘Once we started getting touchdowns, we just ran away with it,’’ Wilson said.
The Seahawks led for all but the first 12 seconds, a Super Bowl record. Free safety Earl Thomas admitted afterward that his team ‘‘didn’t have too many adverse situations,’’ and it was hard to argue.
‘‘This was a dominant performance,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘From top to bottom.’’