This would have been a great Super Bowl. #DENvsSEA— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) September 21, 2014
On the Denver Broncos' first offensive snap of Super Bowl XLVIII, Peyton Manning watched center Manny Ramirez's snap fly over his head and into the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. It was all downhill from there.
On the Denver Broncos' first offensive snap of this game against the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton Manning watched running back Montee Ball fumble the ball after a nine-yard carry, resulting in another turnover.
But unlike the Super Bowl, the Broncos showed resiliency in Week 3 of 2014, not letting their early slip-up snowball into an avalanche against them. The defense immediately bailed out the turnover, with Nate Irving making a great tackle on Marshawn Lynch on third and goal to force a Seahawks field goal. The offense marched down 75 yards for a field goal on the next drive, making it clear:
This wouldn't be another 35-point blowout.
But it wouldn't be easy either.
Conservative playcalling on offense and a handful of huge Seattle offensive plays gave Seattle a two-touchdown lead at the half, 17-3. Peyton Manning averaged just 5.18 yards per attempt heading into his final offensive series, while Russell Wilson averaged 7.96. Both defenses forced turnovers, and both offenses made a final drive to tie/win the game. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Seattle won the coin toss, had the ball last, and Russell Wilson ran all over Denver's defense with an 80-yard touchdown drive to beat the Broncos in overtime, 26-20.
The Broncos defense struck at Seattle throughout the game, despite trailing much of it 17-3. A sack at the goalline in the fourth quarter by DeMarcus Ware set up a safety a play later. 17-5. Aqib Talib tipped a Russell Wilson pass into the waiting arms of Chris Harris Jr., giving the Broncos excellent field position and leading to Denver's first touchdown, a Peyton Manning shovel-pass to Julius Thomas. 17-12.
They gave Manning and the offense opportunities. Emmanuel Sanders, who had 10 catches and over 100 yards (the first receiver to catch over 100 yards against the Seahawks defense in 14 games), proved to be a huge improvement against this defense than Eric Decker offered. Wes W
But with 2:12 left in the game, down five, Manning threw a terribly ill-advised pass to Wes Welker, who was bracketed by three Seahawks. Safety Kam Chancellor leapt and intercepted Manning - Manning's first pick of the season - and returned it 52 yards.
But the Broncos defense balled out again, holding Seattle to a field goal. 20-12. Then the offense finally, finally balled out too.
With less than one minute to play, Manning executed a 42-yard rocket to Sanders, then, a few plays later, a 26-yard pass to Tamme for a touchdown. On the Broncos' two-point conversion, Manning hit Demaryius Thomas in the back of the end zone, who tapped two feet inbounds in spite of coverage by Richard Sherman and another Seahawk. The Broncos tied the game. Overtime.
Pete Carroll's mind is about to blow! pic.twitter.com/N0BvcVrIBW— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 21, 2014
Unfortunately, the Seahawks won the toin coss, and Wilson found his groove. Wilson scrambled for two third down conversions on his 80-yard drive, finishing with a Marshawn Lynch TD run. The defense that had held the Broncos in the game for so long finally didn't have an answer for the mobile Seahawks QB, and the offense that finally found its way didn't get another chance to tie.
The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks escaped overtime with a win, and the Denver Broncos will go home 2-1, having taken the league's best to the wire in its home stadium.