Seattle Seahawks defeat Denver Broncos for first Super Bowl win

The Seattle Seahawks dominate the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. (credit: Alison Chiu/Advertising Staff Member) The Seattle Seahawks dominate the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. (credit: Alison Chiu/Advertising Staff Member)

From the opening play of Super Bowl XLVIII, it was clear that last night was just not going to be the Denver Broncos’ night. National Football League (NFL) MVP and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning couldn’t corral the snap, which launched over his head and into the end zone for a Seattle Seahawks safety. This was just the beginning of a night of mistakes for the Broncos as the Seattle Seahawks clearly got the better of the hyped matchup between Denver’s No. 1 offense and Seattle’s No. 1 defense.

While the final score of 43–8 makes it look like Seattle’s offense was lighting up the field, it was really the Seattle defense and special teams that was responsible for this large outpouring of points. Not including the safety, Denver had four other turnovers which set up second year quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense in fantastic field position, setting them up for 21 points off of turnovers. This trend included a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith.

While Smith may have won the official MVP title, the most valuable squad on the field was clearly the Seattle secondary, nicknamed the Legion of Boom (LOB). From the opening Bronco pass play, the LOB made it nearly impossible for Manning to get anything going through the air. Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor finished the game with nine tackles, including the tone-setting leveling of Denver wide-out Demaryius Thomas on the first Broncos pass attempt, to go along with an interception.

The Seattle defensive line, while not really showing up on the stat sheet, definitely showed up in the game. Seattle speed rushers Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Chris Clemons made the usually stout Denver offensive line look shaky, constantly getting pressure on Manning and altering many of his throws, including a tipped pass by Avril that led to the Smith pick six.

Thomas, Manning, and the rest of the Broncos offense actually had a record-setting offensive performance in the Super Bowl, but it did not translate to the scoreboard. Manning had the most completions — 34 — in Super Bowl history with Thomas setting the record for most receptions in the big game with 13.

For Seattle’s offense, the name of the game was consistency. Wilson did his best to protect the football and made timely plays with both his arm and his legs to keep the ball moving down the field. Partially due to the fantastic field position created by the defense, the Seahawks were only forced to punt once, and only turned the ball over on downs twice when attempting to run the clock out at the end of the game.

The only truly explosive plays from the Seahawks offense came from wide receiver Percy Harvin. Acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for a first round pick in the off-season, Harvin battled injuries all season, playing under 50 plays for Seattle before the Super Bowl. But Harvin quickly showed his worth on the
Seahawks’ second play from scrimmage on a quick 30-yard run that was nearly broken for a touchdown. Harvin also helped put the game well out of reach with his kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.

The biggest surprise in the game — other than the complete domination by the Seahawks — was the utter lack of a running game by either team. Harvin was the leading rusher for both teams with 2 runs for 45 yards.

Both teams had strong rushing games coming into the season, with Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch running for over 1,000 yards during the season. Many experts were expecting this game to be a run-heavy game, but with the better than expected temperatures, no precipitation, the early Seattle lead, and Denver forcing Wilson to beat them with his arm, neither back really got going.

Overall, this game was not the exciting Super Bowl many hoped it would be. There were exciting plays and fancy moves, but all drama was gone by the first half. If not for the advertisements and the star-studded halftime show, I’m sure many viewers would have turned off the game at halftime. But even when one part of the viewing trifecta doesn’t live up to expectations, the other two can carry the weight on their own.