From the first snap, the Denver Broncos were awful. Somehow, it would only get worse.
A fumbled exchange between center Manny Ramirez and quarterback Peyton Manning was a sign of things to come for the 2013 Denver Broncos' woeful, woeful end. Five turnovers and a sputtering offense gave the Seahawks more than enough to dominate Super Bowl XLVIII. It was 2-0 Seattle in 12 seconds, then 5-0, then 8-0, then 22-0, then 36-0, and it never got better.
The Broncos fell for the fifth time in a Super Bowl in what might be the most disappointing and difficult loss in Denver Broncos history.
A disastrous start was a sign of things to come.
Center Manny Ramirez's snap sails over Peyton Manning's head and into the end zone behind them. Knowshon Moreno recovers, but the Seahawks achieve a safety in what is the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history. Seahawks 2, Broncos 0 in 12 seconds.
The Broncos kickoff to Seattle, who execute a nine-play, 51-yard drive led by Russell Wilson's legs and ending with a controversial challenge. Pete Carroll oddly elected to kick a field goal on 4th and inches deep in Denver territory - it is often said it takes touchdowns, not field goals, to beat the Broncos, Coach - and the Seahawks extended their lead. Seahawks 5, Broncos 0.
The Broncos took their first non-fumbled snaps on offense and promptly went 3-and-out. Manning was 2-for-2 on the drive, but both underneath passes were a little
On the next drive, the Seahawks again stalled near the red zone. Seahawks 8, Broncos 0. Then disaster struck again for the Broncos - a 3rd down pass intended for Julius Thomas sails on Manning. Kam Chancellor is there and intercepts Manning.
With one minute left in Q1, the Broncos have fumbled twice, lost one, and been intercepted. Too many nerves.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 3, 2014
The Seahawks will start the 2nd quarter with a 2nd and 5 on Denver's 17-yard line.
The Seahawks are poised for an early potential kill of the Broncos, and a pass interference penalty by Tony Carter extends their drive, giving them a 1st and Goal on the one-yard line. Two plays later, Lynch marches in for the touchdown, making it Seahawks 15, Broncos 0 with 12 minutes left in Q2.
Total yards thus far. Seattle 161. Denver 11— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 3, 2014
Denver gets their first first down of the game on the next drive, and they make it two-in-a-row by the skin of their teeth. It's clear Denver's yards-after-catch strategy is not working, as Seahawks defensive backs and linebackers throttle Broncos wide receivers the moment they catch the ball for little gain.
However, the Broncos are able to put together some momentum - and a drive consisting of four first downs - until Zane Beadles' tripping penalty puts them back 10 yards. Then, on 3rd and 13, disaster strikes (noticing a theme?) - Cliff Avril gets past Orlando Franklin, and Manning is hit as he throws. Malcolm Smith comes up with an interception and returns it 69 yards for what feels like a game-sealing Seattle touchdown. Seahawks 22, Broncos 0 with 33 minutes left in the game.
As pointed out on the radio broadcast from Westwood One, teams that get a pick-6 in a Super Bowl are 11-0.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) February 3, 2014
That doesn't bode well.
Who would've predicted the Super Bowl temperature would've be much higher than Peyton Manning's QB rating (37.8) tonight?— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 3, 2014
Neither does that.
The Broncos got desperate and went for it on 4th and 2 instead of putting points on the board. They fail to convert as Seattle's defensive line continues to dominate.
This one is ugly, folks. How can the Broncos pull themselves out of it?
The Broncos were down 22-0 entering the third quarter, and it quickly got worse before it got better. Percy Harvin returned the second half opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Seahawks 29, Broncos 0.
It doesn't take long for Seattle's stifling defense to pick up right where it left off. The Broncos' drive stalls at Seattle's 38-yard line, and facing a 4th and 11, the Broncos elect to punt.
#Broncos punt to save 32 yards of field position, down 29 points. Disgusting.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 3, 2014
On Marshawn Lynch's first run of the second half, he more than doubles his rushing total for the game. Held to 17 total rushing yards in the first half, Lynch rushes for 18 right away, nearly breaking free for a long touchdown had Broncos safety Mike Adams missed his shoestring tackle. However, Denver's defense stands firm and forces the Seahawks to punt. It's their first punt of the night.
It didn't take long for Seattle to make the Broncos pay even more. Jermaine Kearse breaks just pitiful tackle attempts from the likes of Tony Carter, Wesley Woodyard, and Duke Ihenacho to find the end zone. Seahawks 36, Broncos 0.
Carter, Woodyard and Nacho whiffing on that play. Worst. SB. Ever.— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) February 3, 2014
With the game fully out of hand, Manning and the offense perform like they should have all game and march straight down the field. Demaryius Thomas hauls in a touchdown, and Wes Welker catches a two-point conversion to make it 36-8 as the third quarter comes to a close. Broncos 8, Seahawks 36.
That drive was 6 plays, 80 yards, completed in 2:58. That would have been nice a lot earlier.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 3, 2014
Fourth Quarter - Seahawks 36, Broncos 8
To this point, it wasn't clear who might win Super Bowl MVP on the Seahawks. The defense was the collective MVP - so QB Russell Wilson put together the type of drive that wins a QB the MVP title by default. Wilson completed five straight passes for 58 yards and a 10-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin to put the game truly out of reach. Seahawks 43, Broncos 8.
The Broncos, thoroughly out of the game now, put some yards together, but can't muster up any more points on the scoreboard. Peyton Manning breaks the record for completions in a Super Bowl, and Demaryius Thomas breaks the record for receptions, which is just stupid.
The Broncos beat themselves, and the Seahawks beat them too. It was never close, it was never respectable, it was never a game at all. How this offense can get so off track after a rough start was remarkable. How the Seahawks completely out-performed the Broncos was even more impressive/disgusting.
The Broncos enter the offseason full of questions they didn't expect to have to answer. Does Champ Bailey come back? Does Peyton Manning? Does John Fox?
In the meantime, all we can do is congratulate your 2013-2014 Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.