What. Was. That?
With the hype of the #1 ranked offense facing off against the #1 ranked defense, Super Bowl XLVIII was a complete evisceration that started from the very first play. After an ill-advised and poorly executed kick return, Denver botch the shotgun the snap on the next play that directly led to a safety. What seemed like an odd way for the first score to occur, the fact that this set a new record for quickest score in Super Bowl history at 12 seconds, this was merely foreshadowing of what was to come. Lacking chemistry, effective blocking, and the ability to keep the defense off the field, Denver kept giving the ball back to Seattle and the Seahawks were able to extend their lead to 22-0 at halftime. Denver had a chance for some points late, but failed on 4th and 2 instead of kicking the field goal.
The second half wasn’t much better for Denver. The opening kickoff was returned 87 yards by Percy Harvin for a touchdown to extend the lead. Manning was not able to get consistent pass blocking and his pocket would routinely collapse. On multiple occasions, he was hit on the throw and it caused a turnover. On the last play of the 3rd quarter, Denver finally got on the board and added a 2pt conversion, but they would never add another point while Seattle added more en route to a 43-8 route. Ouch!
For Denver, Peyton Manning ended up finishing 34-49 for 280 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions along with a lost fumble. Knowshon Moreno ran 5 times for 17 yards and the duo of Montee Ball and CJ Anderson totaled 8 carries for 10 yards. Demaryius Thomas caught 13 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown while Wes Welker added 8 catches for 84 yards. Denver kicker Matt Prater, who set a record with a 64 yard field goal earlier this year, had no stats to report. It was a rough day.
Seattle was led by Russell Wilson, who went 18-25 for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch ran 15 times for a paltry 39 yards and a touchdown while Percy Harvin had 2 carries for 45 yards, Robert Turbin ran 9 times for 25 yards and Wilson himself ran 3 times for 26 yards. Doug Baldwin led the receivers with 5 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown while Jermaine Kearse added 4 catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Both receiving touchdowns were with the aid of nifty foot work and missed tackles. Kicker Steven Hauschka was 2/2 in his field goals and added 5 extra points. Hauschka’s 11 points outscored the entire Broncos team.
The game wasn’t completely rosy for Seattle. The play from wide receiver Golden Tate was abysmal. This game made me think two things regarding Tate: Golden Tate is not a good receiver and that he was secretly paid off to try and screw things up. Between terribly dropped passes and running backwards after the catch, Tate finished a useless 3 catches for 17 yards. If the Seahawks want sustained success, they might need to rethink his role.
On a bright spot for Denver, Demaryius Thomas continues to be a beast down the field. Thomas caught all 13 passes thrown his way, including the bad throws to finish with 118 yards and the Broncos’ only touchdown. While he did contribute to one of the four Denver turnovers, Thomas set a Super Bowl record with his 13 receptions. Thomas continues to improve and raise the bar.
It’s a rare occurrence, but the NFL got the Super Bowl MVP correct. Linebacker Malcolm Smith locked up the award with a 69 yard interception return for a touch to go with 9 total tackles and a pass deflection. Far too often, the quarterback ends up being the MVP, even if their qualifications are a little lacking.
While the scoreboard showed domination, the total offensive yards was only 341-306 in favor of Seattle. It was the combination of turnover efficiency and special teams that wrecked havoc on Denver’s chances. Seattle outscored Denver in every quarter as the Bronco turnovers kept yielding points for the Seahawks. Both teams entered the game with a 13-3 record in the regular season and each had to beat a team in the playoffs that beat them earlier in the season to get to the Super Bowl. Despite the great regular seasons, exciting playoffs and the unique venue, the Super Bowl was a dud from a competitive standpoint. Even the venue, which houses the New York and Jets and Giants, failed to give the game any drama as the game time temperature was warmer in the New Jersey compared to either Seattle or Denver. Hopefully, the Puppy Bowl was a closer game as Super Bowl XLVIII will be known as one of the most overhyped games in NFL history.
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