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 2, 2014 11:41PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Be it numerology or kismet, it caused Pete Carroll to smile: the Seahawks, Home of the 12th Man, scored 12 seconds into Sunday’s Super Bowl. And then, again, 12 seconds into the second half, sealing what would become a 43-8 Super Bowl thumping of the Denver Broncos.
“That,” Seahawks coach, still with neon green confetti pieces shaped like the Lombardi Trophy in his hair, said, “is the magic of 12.”
Seattle’s notoriously loud fan base is what made Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s voice blend into the stadium’s 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.
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.”
Wide receiver Wes Welker said the Broncos “didn’t prepare very well” for the noise, “and it showed.”
Twelve seconds into the game, the score was the fastest in Super Bowl history, besting Devin Hester’s 2007 game-opening kick return by two seconds.
Using field position from the ensuing free kick, the Seahawks booted a 31-yard field goal, 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 like they had an extra player on the field to earn the franchise its first-ever NFL title.
They 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, chasing a lead that grew as large as 36-0 before Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard score on the last play of the third quarter.
Manning — who finished the NFL’s greatest passing yards and touchdowns season ever — set the Super Bowl’s completions mark, too, but, contextually, 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 quarter, Manning’s pass was jumped by Kam Chancellor. Seven plays later, Marshawn Lynch lunged forward for a 1-yard score to put Seattle up, 15-0.
His “ducks” — popularized by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman this week — would yield more Seattle points.
With 3:36 left in the first half. Manning was hit by Cliff Avril as he threw, and the ball wobbled into the arms of outside linebacker Malcolm Smith. He ran it 69 yards for a score.
Smith — a former seventh-round pick 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 when Manning threw an incompletion on fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 19.
They went into halftime down 22-0, and Manning had 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 second half’s opening kickoff.
The Seahawks wide receiver, who played only two games this season because of hip and head injuries, returned the boot 87 yards to go ahead, 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,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “It’s unbelievable.”
The second-year Wilson comported himself like a veteran, completing 18-of-25 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns and a 123.1 quarterback rating.
His didn’t turn the ball over and was not sacked. His Seahawks converted 7-of-12 third-down situations, including four successful tries in the first quarter.
Wideouts Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse each caught scores. No Seahawks receiver, though, had more than Baldwin’s 66 yards.
“Once we started getting touchdowns, we just ran away with it,” Wilson said.
The Seahawks led the game for all but the first 12 seconds, a Super Bowl record.
Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas admitted after that his team “didn’t have too many adverse situations,” and it was hard to argue.
“This was a dominant performance,” he said. “From top to bottom.”