The Seattle Seahawks captured their first Super Bowl championship with a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
The outcome never was in doubt as the Seahawks jumped to a 22-0 first-half lead and didn’t give up any points until the final seconds of the third quarter.
It was one of the most amazing defensive performances in Super Bowl history. The Seattle defense, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL against the pass and No. 7 against the run entering the playoffs, held the highest-scoring offense in league history to its worst offensive output of the season. The Seahawks intercepted Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning twice and forced four total turnovers.
Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith was named Super Bowl XLVIII MVP for a performance that included nine tackles and a pick six. He’s the first defensive player to win MVP honors since Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson in Super Bowl XXXVII.
One of the most hilarious moments of Super Bowl XLVIII occurred during the ceremonial coin toss. Former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath was given the honor of tossing the coin in the air, but he flipped it before the visiting Seahawks were able to call heads or tails. The referee quickly stepped in to catch the coin before it hit the ground. Seattle won the toss and deferred to the second half.
The first quarter featured the second Super Bowl safety in the last three seasons. On the Broncos’ first play of the game, Manning was talking to his offensive linemen when center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball early, and it went into the end zone. Knowshon Moreno recovered it in the end zone to give the Seahawks an early 2-0 edge.
The Seahawks’ best offensive play of the first quarter was a 37-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Seattle had to settle for a field goal, though, and a 5-0 lead.
The first of Manning’s two interceptions was thrown to Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. The NFL MVP ended the first half with 104 passing yards, two interceptions and a passer rating below 50.
The first touchdown of the game came on a 1-yard run by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, who ended the game with 39 yards on 15 carries.
It didn’t take long for the Seahawks to strike again after Lynch’s goal-line run. Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted a Manning pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. Smith also made the interception that sealed the Seahawks’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Smith then tried to do a Jimmy Graham-like celebration by attempting a slam dunk over the goal post, but he came up a bit short.
Peyton’s brother Eli was in attendance to watch the Broncos try to win the Super Bowl on his home field. Peyton’s poor game didn’t give the Manning family much to cheer. This facial expression from Eli summed up the night.
The halftime show featured a performance from Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During one of his hit songs, Mars performed a split on the stage. Josh Gold-Smith of Awful Announcing provided a GIF of the move.
The second half started with a bang as Percy Harvin brought the kickoff back 87 yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a 29-0 lead. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl since Devin Hester opened Super Bowl XLI with a score for the Chicago Bears. Peyton Manning was Hester’s opponent in that game, too.
This is the type of excitement the Seahawks thought they would see from Harvin after acquiring him from Minnesota in the offseason. He played in just two regular-season games because of injuries, but the former Florida Gators star was a major factor in Sunday’s outcome.
The Seahawks’ offense kept rolling in the second half. Jermaine Kearse’s 23-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was a great display of determination — and poor tackling by the Broncos’ defense. It also was Russell Wilson’s first career Super Bowl touchdown pass.
The Broncos were determined not to be the first team shut out in a Super Bowl. Manning led his team on a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to receiver Demaryius Thomas. Wes Welker converted a two-point conversion on a short pass from Manning, trimming Seattle’s lead to 36-8 after three quarters.
The Seahawks’ offense responded with an impressive drive of its own. Wilson drove Seattle 48 yards on six plays and completed a 10-yard pass to Doug Baldwin for a touchdown.
The Seahawks’ defense held strong to close out the 43-8 victory. With about a minute remaining, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll received the first Super Bowl Gatorade bath of his career.