After all the pre-game hype about Denver’s best offense in the history of the NFL in 2013, Super Bowl XLVIII turned out to be the third most one-sided game in Super Bowl history, as Seattle blew out the Broncos 43-8 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ Sunday night.
Everyone KNEW the #1 ranked defense of Seattle would pose challenges, and they did. The defense put up 9 points, but the Seahawks offense put up 34 against the Denver defense. The bottom line is this game was boring almost from the beginning and Denver really didn’t even bother to show up. It was one of the most disappointing games in Super Bowl history.
For whatever reason, Peyton Manning, the MVP of the NFL this season never got into a groove. The wheels began falling off just 12 seconds into the game. On the first offensive play there was a miscommunication between Manning and his center. The snap came before Manning was expecting it. It appeared he was moving toward the line of scrimmage to audible, but just as he moved up, the ball was snapped. Knowshon Moreno recovered for the Broncos eight yards deep in the end zone, giving Seattle a safety and a 2-0 lead with 14:48 left in the opening quarter.
Following the free kick after the safety, Russell Wilson led his offense on a 9-play, 51-yard drive that took 4:27 and resulted in a Steven Hauschka 31-yard field goal, giving the ‘Hawks a 5-0 lead with 10:21 left in the first quarter.
Manning and his unit went three-and-out and following a 29-yard punt by Britton Colquit, Wilson set back up at his 28. The possession was a 13-play, 58-yard drive that took 6:14 and resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Hauschka that gave Seattle an 8-0 lead with 2:16 left in the quarter.
After a touchback, Manning led his offense back on the field again. On a third-and-seven, he threw a deep pass over the middle intended for Julius Thomas. The pass was intercepted by Kam Chancellor at the Denver 39. He returned the pick two yards to the 37.
It took 7 plays and 3:59 for the Seahawks to find the end zone for the first time. Marshawn Lynch ran in from the 1, and Hauschka added the extra point, upping the score to 15-0 with exactly twelve minutes left in the first half.
Trendon Holliday returned the ensuing kick out to his 17, and Manning brought his charges back on the field, hoping to get things headed in the right direction. For a while it appeared that Denver would get into the end zone and back in the game, but on the 16th play of the possession, at the Seattle 35, Manning’s pass on the right side intended for Moreno as intercepted by Malcolm Smith and returned 69 yards for a TD. After Hauschka’s PAT, the lead rose to 22-0 with 3:21 left in the first half.
Denver managed two first downs, but a fourth-and-two pass at the Seattle 19 fell incomplete and the ‘Hawks took over on downs. They ran two plays and gained 5 yards as the first half came to a close.
Everyone in the stadium expected Denver to come roaring back in the second half and at least make a run at getting back into the game. Any ideas that the Broncos and their fans had about a comeback win came to an end on the opening kickoff of the second half.
Percy Harvin, who Seattle paid megabucks to get in the offseason, played only a few plays the entire season due to having to have hip surgery. Just after he got back on the field, he suffered a concussion and barley got cleared to play in Super Bowl. Knowing the dangerous speed he possessed, Denver elected to kick short on the second half kickoff in order to contain him. That plan failed miserably.
Matt Prater’s kick went to the ‘Hawk 13. The Broncos had a couple of players in position to potentially make a stop, but Harvin out-foxed them and didn’t stop until 87 yards later when he got into the end zone. Hauschka added the extra point and Seattle’s lead was 29-0 with 14:48 left in the third quarter.
Denver’s next possession was good for 12 plays and they moved from their 23 to the Seattle 39, but were forced to punt with 10:38 left in the quarter. The Seahawks picked up one first down in the possession, but they had to punt on the next series.
Manning and his offense was stymied once again after just 3 plays. He hit Demaryius Thomas on a deep pass down the left sideline at the ‘Hawk 21 where he was hit by Byron Maxwell and fumbled the ball. Malcolm Smith recovered the ball at his 20 and returned it up to his 27, and Wilson and his offensive unit hit the field again. To add insult to injury, Denver was flagged for unnecessary roughness after the play, and the ball was moved up to the Seattle 42.
It took only 6 plays and 2:57 for Wilson to lead his team into the end zone again. The score came on a short pass on the right side to Jermaine Kearse. He took the ball 23 yards for the TD. Hauschka connected on the point after again, and Seattle had a 36-0 blowout lead with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
Denver began at their 20 after a touchback and began their only scoring drive of the night. The score came on a 14-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas on the last play of the third quarter. The Broncos went for two, and Manning hit Wes Welker for a successful attempt, making the score 36-8 entering the final period.
The worry about the weather turned out to be much ado about nothing, as it was 49 degrees at kickoff and still in the upper 30’s at the end of the game. Fortunately, the game was Sunday and not Monday, as heavy snow was falling Monday morning with predictions of up to as much as 8 inches coming by late afternoon.
The NFL and fans definitely dodged a bullet on the choice of NY/NJ as the site for the biggest game in sports, but common sense says the game should NEVER be held in a cold weather city again UNLESS the stadium has at least a retractable roof. HOPEFULLY, that will be the case.
The 2013 season is now officially over, and all teams in the NFL will now focus on their needs for next season and the upcoming draft this spring.