Posted February 03, 2014

First Down/Fourth Down: Seahawks demolish Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII

Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl XLVIII
Percy Harvin proved worth the wait in Super Bowl XLVIII.  (John W. McDonough/SI)

Percy Harvin proved worth the wait in Super Bowl XLVIII. (John W. McDonough/SI)

Despite employing something of a makeshift unit, the Broncos protected Peyton Manning better than any other O-line guarded any QB in the league. Denver allowed all of 20 sacks in 16 regular-season games, easily the lowest number in the league.

“We are confident in what we can do,” Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril said on Thursday. “We feel like we can definitely rush him. Whenever we get the chance we’re going to try to make it happen.”

Make it happen, they did in a 43-8 win over the Broncos.

Avril came up with one of the most important plays of all up front. The game was still somewhat in the balance at 15-0 in the second quarter when Avril pushed his way into the pocket and hit Peyton Manning’s arm as he went to throw. Manning’s pass attempt fluttered out of his hand and into the arms of Seattle’s Malcolm Smith, who raced back 69 yards for a touchdown — turning the game from an early mismatch into a complete laugher.

Manning took just one sack in the game overall, resulting in a fumble, with 3:50 left to play. He also had little time to set in the pocket and scan the field. That was a focus for Seattle’s aggressive defensive front entering the game: moving Manning off his spots.

MORE COVERAGE: Best, worst | Super Bowl Snaps | What happened to Broncos?

From the outset, Manning struggled to find any sort of a groove, even whipping passes to no one in particular when he had time to throw. Both of his interceptions came on account of heavy pressure.

“This was an amazing team. I’m so proud to be part of them,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after receiving the Vince Lombardi Trophy. “These guys would not take anything else but a win in this ballgame.”

More of the best and worst from Seattle’s remarkable Super Bowl XLVIII win.

First Down: Kam Chancellor.

The members of Seattle’s defense kept telling anyone who would listen that there was far more to the group than just Richard Sherman. And in case someone missed the message, the Seahawks backed those words Sunday night.

Chancellor not only lives in Sherman’s shadow most of the time, but also he’s the other Seattle safety behind do-everything star Earl Thomas. All Chancellor did this year, after signing a five-year contract last April, was chalk up 99 tackles and three interceptions of his own. Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 12 safety in the league, just three spots back of Thomas.

And he proved his worth again in Super Bowl XLVIII, in a performance highlighted by an interception of Manning. That pick came with Seattle up just 8-0; it was 15-0 by the time the ensuing possession was over.

Fourth Down: John Fox’s decisions to play it conservatively.

One or two coaching decisions were not going to make the difference in this blowout, but … well, Fox certainly did not help his team out. An early blown challenge aside, the most unforgivable mistakes Fox made came at the end of the first half and early in the third quarter. On the former, Fox allowed the Seahawks to run out the second-quarter clock with a 22-0 lead, despite Denver having two timeouts in its back pocket; on the latter, the Broncos punted from the Seattle 40 while facing a 29-0 deficit (after a 3rd-and-10 draw play).

The complete domination displayed by Seattle caught pretty much everyone off-guard. Fox more or less throwing in the towel before halftime was almost as shocking a development.

First Down: Percy Harvin.

Not a bad X-factor to be able to break out in the Super Bowl, eh? The Seahawks dealt a first-round pick for Harvin last offseason, then sat around and waited for the oft-injured receiver to make his way onto the field. Harvin finished the regular season with one game played and 75 total yards.

“It’s been weird. It’s been frustrating. It’s been all the above, man,” Harvin said of his season. “I had a tough time and it wore on me a little bit. But like I told the reporters, my teammates have been A-plus-plus. This whole organization has been top of the line.”

Was the wait — and the trade — worth it? Hard to argue otherwise after Harvin went for 137 yards and a kick-return touchdown Sunday. He averaged 22.5 yards on two carries in the first half, then put the nail in Denver’s coffin on the opening kickoff of the second half.

Fourth Down: Eric Decker.

If the Broncos really were hoping to convince free-agent-to-be Decker to stick around, Sunday’s game may help. Of course, the Broncos would have preferred that Decker not completely disappear on the Super Bowl stage.

Decker saw Sherman for huge chunks of the night — which goes some of the way to explaining Demaryius Thomas’ 13-catch, 118-yard night. Manning wound up looking Decker’s way just once, for a six-yard reception.

First Down: The MetLife setting.

The game (and maybe those mass-transit issues) aside, the NFL pulled off an absolute gem of a Super Bowl, despite being outdoors in New Jersey in February. The weather was perfect, the venue rocking until Seattle pulled away, the Renee Fleming national anthem a goosebump-inspiring show and even Bruno Mars’ halftime performance drew rave reviews. Maybe the NFL will balk on hosting another cold-weather Super Bowl anytime soon, but it won’t be because something misfired Sunday.

Fourth Down: The run games.

The Broncos’ running backs felt they could be an X-factor in this one, as Seattle focused on shutting down Peyton Manning. Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch had been a critical cog in the Seahawks’ attack all season. The result of that intriguing RB matchup: not much of note.

Lynch really had the lone highlight from that position, with a one-yard touchdown to put his team up 15-0 after Chancellor’s interception. He finished with a mere 39 yards rushing, however — six fewer than Harvin. Moreno and Ball combined for all of 18 yards on the ground, and Moreno left the contest after taking a huge hit in the third quarter.

136 comments
badbeatya
badbeatya

Factor in all the offense-friendly rules and this is the best Defensive performance in a Super Bowl, EVER.

Ameri-dum-dum
Ameri-dum-dum

Well, every year we hear about some offensive revolution - Last year it was the 49ers and RGIII and the read option.   This year it was the Broncos and Eagles spreading the field and running up Madden-like numbers.   


But every year its a Ravens, Giants or Seahawks type team that seems to win the big one.   On the biggest stage when the lights are brightest and everyone is nervous, the biggest, strongest, fastest guy is going to punch the finesse guy in the face.

lucmizell
lucmizell

Many say this Super Bowl was boring. It was almost everything I wanted. Manning suffered a humiliating loss and added to his reputation of being unable to win the big games, LOL. Sherman was a non-factor, got injured and had to be carted off the field, and kept his mouth shut. Former Gator Percy Harvin had a great game, and scored on that return. So for myself the game was totally awesome. If only the Seahawks had won by two more points, then the headline could have said Manning leads Broncos to most lop sided defeat in Super Bowl history.

PackersFanNumeroUno
PackersFanNumeroUno

I told you idiots the Broncos were bums and that Rodgers >  manning. Now do u believe me?


We were the only team that would have beat the Seahawks in the playoffs.

Crapahoola
Crapahoola

Broncos had been outscored 124-30 while wearing orange jerseys in their 3 Super Bowl losses. They were 2-0 wearing Blue and White Jerseys during their SB wins. Bronco's PR Department "We're the home team, so I think we should wear orange!" -Brilliant!

DominicDomino
DominicDomino

Love that punt DOWN 29 POINTS in the third quarter on Seattle's 39 yard line.  Such a give-up loser decision.

picklejuice
picklejuice

The tough thing about Seattle is the same reason picking an MVP was so hard. No one player on the team can win the game for them. They are a true "team" in every sense of the word. When you look at Seattle's defense, where is the weak spot to target. Who can you exploit? You look at the offense and Denver clearly sold out the whole game on one thing, "stop Lynch." They did that, but gave up big pass, after big pass, because all they did all game long was, "stop Lynch". That plan would have worked if Wilson had a bad day, but at some point while Wilson is picking you apart you have to change your plan.

Denver clearly had the tools to be able to win this game, as shown by their one TD possession. But, their coaching staff really let them down today. Screen after screen kept being called and kept losing them yards. Eventually as a coach you have to make the adjustments and realize I need to take the plays the defense is giving me and not keep trying to force the stuff that isn't working. You need to be a tactician on offense to beat Seattle's smart and studied defense. Denver clearly failed in that department.

Jamm90
Jamm90

Congrats to the Seahawks, great team win, they showed all those "experts" that the old saying is true, Defense wins championships

bensanhunter
bensanhunter

No disrespect to Peyton Manning, but I thought that Denver's regular season schedule was rigged in their favor. They never played Carolina, NO, Seattle, GB, or SF. I thought their schedule needed to be harder than it was. That one regular season game where they played New England, the Patriots came roaring back to win that game. Their unpreparedness may be a result of an unusually easy schedule.

AnthonyS.Andrews
AnthonyS.Andrews

Congrats to each team for making it to the big game. Seattle however played a fantastic game. Offense, defense, special teams, what else can be said? This team seems to possess a polish and maturity that belies its youth, and that is a credit to the coaching staff. The Seahawks looked like a team that had "been there, and done that". A team that had been forged and molded through previous Super Bowl experiences. All the while, the Denver Broncos looked like a team that was ill-prepared and unable to withstand the pressure of center stage. This Broncos unit looked more like the Broncos of old. It wasn't a question if they would lose. It was simply a question of margin.


I am a Redskins' fan, and have been since 1981. With that being said, I am not hopeful of the future. At least while Daniel Snyder is in charge. While I am a fan of a specific team, I am a football fan first and foremost, and in that, I appreciate talent and togetherness when I see it. The Seattle Seahawks are not only the NFL's best team, but they seem the model for what it means to be large and in charge. Despite their relative youth. I am not one for prognostications, but should this team stay the course, and check their individual egos in at the door, tonight could have been the first chapter in something truly special. Tonight I sensed the magic that once ignited Southern California during the Pete Carroll era. I see no reason why such magic could not present itself in the long term. If such magic can grow in the heat and humidity of Southern California, than how much more so in the Emerald City of the Pacific Northwest. Congrats to Coach Carroll, his team and everyone within the Seahawks organization. The evening, and the future are yours......

JPG
JPG

Congrats to the Seahawks - the greatest defensive team in Super Bowl history.

After what this team did to the Broncos tonight and on top of what they did to the 49ers and Saints - again congrats to the greatest team in Super Bowl history.

moist
moist

Seattle D was fantastic, but the offense got the job done- 5 scoring drives, one punt, zero turnovers. Scored on every drive in first half (last plays at end of 1st don't count). Added two big TD's in 2nd half when everyone expected only Lynch. Wilson was solid. Receivers excellent.

Clearly the D (and special teams) are special for this team but the O was solid tonight

Acotoz
Acotoz

"Can we have the Broncos in our schedule?" - Urban Meyer

kingfisher1234
kingfisher1234

Peyton should quit and explore a republican seat for congress from Lousianna for which he has a better shot.

kingfisher1234
kingfisher1234

Almost 90% of "analysts" and "experts" predicted a Denver win and the crown of GOAT for Manning. What a joke.  The real superbowl was the NFC championship between seahawks and niners the two best team in the league.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

"Kiss the sky," and how, Seahawks.


Broncos early 3Q (satire): 'Anyone find that breaker-switch yet?'


Congratulations to Peter (the Great) Carroll, his soldiers of fortune and sweet satisfaction for a Seattle fan-base who must've still smarted from that frustrating SB.40 loss to Pitt.

tmadz
tmadz

Wow. That defense was awesome, but once it became 2-0 my pool was screwed, I bailed at half because Denver looked so pitiful. I wonder how Fox felt about it.

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

@Ameri-dum-dum The read option was used twice as much by NFL Teams this past season as it was in 2012. It's not going away.


Of course no team can base their entire offense on their QB running, and no team does that.  For the Seahawks, the read option is just one play they use once in a while.  It's not their entire offense.

dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

@Ameri-dum-dum Brilliant comment, and great observation.  The only exception was the Colts/Saints Super Bowl a few years back, where both teams were sissies, I mean "finesse" teams and it was the most boring Super Bowl I've ever seen.  I was shocked when I saw Manning set the completion record Sunday considering how many screens and 3 yard passes were thrown in that Colts/Saints matchup.

TeresaMcCafferty
TeresaMcCafferty

@lucmizell  Sherman was not a non-factor. They only targeted him once the entire game! They changed their game plan to avoid throwing in his direction. He was a factor. So nice of you to be happy about someone getting injured. You are a tool!

SoCalFan
SoCalFan

@lucmizell exactly! it was delightful to see how Manning puts up a clinic and sets up another record (completions in super bowl) while his defense let's him down :-)

ColinDorsey
ColinDorsey

@PackersFanNumeroUno  You would have been totally and completely embarrassed by Seattle. The Packers are on the way down, Seattle is on the way up. The Rodgers contract created large holes in your roster that are crippling. (Defense?)

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@Crapahoola  Yeah, it was all decided by the color of the jersey they were wearing. Makes perfect sense

picklejuice
picklejuice

Also, Seattle's defense is one of the few who have learned to still hit hard, but in the legal way, in today's safety first NFL. A lot of defenses haven't or refuse to learn to hit properly in the chest and waist. You don't have to go for the knees like Welker thinks.

Frankjc81
Frankjc81

What are you talking about? They still played through the playoffs and looked decent doing so. They don't just go from regular season right into the Super Bowl. If they were un prepared, then why did they even make it to the Super Bowl? What a lame excuse. Besides that didn't they play KC? SD? Baltimore?Philly? I mean besides Oakland and the jags and maybe one or two more, they had a decent schedule. You make zero sense.

wildcats302
wildcats302

@bensanhunter You do know that teams from the AFC west only play teams from one NFC division each year right? This year it was the NFC East...it rotates, so next year it will be say NFC North, then South, then West, and back to NFC East again. I'm not sure what you wanted Denver or the NFL to do there as it is a rotation for every division in both conferences. 

 There is no doubt the NFC was the varsity and the AFC the jv conference this year. You just had to watch the AFC and NFC title games to see that...Seattle and San Fran were by far the best two teams that day and it was not even close.

read.jk
read.jk

@AnthonyS.Andrews  Thanks, Anthony. I'm a rabid Seahawks fan and I've been waiting for this since way back when trick plays were the only entertaining thing to watch about this team. Ya stick by your boys and eventually they get it done for you. We have the best fans in the world because we think so : )  We have to best team and the best coach in the NFL because we know so. Tonight's victory proves it. Good luck next year, my friend.

Frankjc81
Frankjc81

And what do you mean the 49ers? Seattle barely got that win thanks to a mistake by kappernick. Realistically the 49ers lost that game. Seattle didn't win it. They looked incredible tonight, but as great as they looked, denver looked horrible. Sure Seahawks d had some to do with that. But if the colts and the cardinals can beat them, manning should have been able to do something. He just didn't have it. I can only imagine the great game that could have been had both teams been playing at 100 percent. Instead we got Seattle at 100 and denver at 25 tops.

Frankjc81
Frankjc81

Better check those 85 bears first before making that starement

Mr. J
Mr. J

@JPG  Baltimore Ravens about 10 years ago was the best defense or the 85 Bears for best defense in SuperBowl they destroyed New England!...I can still see Richard Dent just shaking that poor QB..lol ,,,,,but I will put Seattle 3rd!

AnthonyS.Andrews
AnthonyS.Andrews

@JPG I don't know if I would say that they were the greatest team in Super Bowl history, but their performance was nothing short of amazing. Their defense was amongst the best that I have seen in recent memory, and as a football fan, they were an absolute joy to watch. They were well-prepared, intrepid, and despite some penalties, played a nearly perfect game.



Crapahoola
Crapahoola

@kingfisher1234  "almost 90%" . . . c'mon bro . . . you only watchin' TV in Denver?  More than half of the guys I saw and listened to picked Seattle because of their defense.  Just like the guys being interviewed said that "nobody gave us a chance!" . . . yeah, right.

bbc
bbc

@tmadz  Fox sure didn't sound like a happy chappie at the end of the game.

chrysperdue
chrysperdue

@eagleeye502001 @Ameri-dum-dum  Unless your Joe Montana and the 1989 49ers. But one could argue that maybe Denver's defense peaked too early and began to slide as the top top defense.

ColinDorsey
ColinDorsey

@lucmizell @PackersFanNumeroUno  I wouldn't be surprised if the Packers miss the playoffs next year. Rodgers missing time hurt, but they haven't been able to stop anyone for 3-4 years now. I said it when they signed Rodgers, that was the beginning of the downturn. The Packers have a limited budget, and his deal eats up a lot of the cap space they need to be able to shut down down an offense that can throw a forward pass. They got lucky a few times last year. (Dallas's ineptitude to run the ball up 23, Chicago completely blowing coverage on 4th down, The Minnesota game and getting a tie)

DarrynFrost
DarrynFrost

@picklejuice  A lot of people din't notice how important this is. The Seahawks hit you hard and smash you in the mouth, but rarely commit penalties because of it. They really work hard to hit legally.


Frankjc81
Frankjc81

Thank you, I was in the process of writing the same thing to this dude. Clearly he just doesn't know footbsll

EssJ
EssJ

@Frankjc81  Sour grapes. Seattle won the NFC title game fair and square led by their D. The Niners are legit but couldn't get it done this year. I look forward to the rivalry for years to come.

eagleeye502001
eagleeye502001

@Mr. J @JPG  The 85 Bears and Ravens had scarier d-lines but the overall Seahawks defense is as good as either of them.  They fly around, hit hard and never seem to miss a tackle.

picklejuice
picklejuice

@Mr. J @JPG Sherman put it best after the game. I can't find the quote, but to paraphrase... I don't care what order you put us with those teams. As long as you respect us enough to have us in the discussion [of the best NFL defense in history].

read.jk
read.jk

@Mr. J @JPG  I'm a diehard Seattle fan, proud of my team's super D and I'm okay with being 3rd. I'm thinking you're probably right. Ah...but these guys are still getting better : ) Good luck next year, man.

JPG
JPG

@AnthonyS.Andrews @JPGDon't disagree with anything you said.  But after a couple of hours of thinking - just can't get over the fact how this team completely dismatled the greatest offense in history.  And with what ease.

jshawaii22
jshawaii22

@bbc @tmadz  ...  I think he's talking about the Network that broadcast the game, with 30% of the audience going away after half-time.


js

lucmizell
lucmizell

@ColinDorsey @lucmizell@PackersFanNumeroUnoI disagree with your premise. On defense if they can find a player at OLB opposite Matthews and a stud like Mosley at ILB would make this D infinitely better. And of course a huge upgrade at safety, stay healthy, and this D would be good enough to win with.