@TSFSports Super Bowl XLVIII recap and commentary: Seahawks display of dominance shuts down the Broncos 43-8
(Brad Penner/USA Today)
Russell Wilson completes a great second by winning the NFL’s greatest prize.
The only thing more shocking than the Seattle Seahawks 45-8 blasting of the Denver Broncos was the ease with which it was done. The Seahawks scored on offense, defense and special teams before the Denver Broncos could crack the scoreboard. Seattle’s defense was all bark and bite, forcing four turnovers and pressuring Peyton Manning into a historically uncharacteristic performance.
Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble before being named Super Bowl MVP. Russell Wilson joined Doug Williams in becoming only the second African-American starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
The Denver Broncos first play from scrimmage was symbolic of their Super Bowl XLVIII experience.
They were in over their heads.
Before Peyton Manning and his teammates could find any hint of an offensive rhythm, they were in a 22-0 hole with no relief in sight. The Seahawks came in with the intent of shutting the Broncos prolific offense down — exacting their game plan to the letter. The defense only sacked Manning once, but made his night in the pocket very uncomfortable.
Russell Wilson connected with eight different receivers, passing to 206 yards and two scores on 18-25 passing. Wilson also rushed for 26 yards on three attempts. The Seahawks accounted for 136 rushing yards using four different ball carriers as the Broncos keyed in on Marshawn Lynch — holding him to 36 yards on 15 carries.
Percy Harvin proved to be worth the three draft picks (one was a first round pick) and cash the Seahawks used to acquire him in the off-season. Harvin saw limited action in a tumultuous regular season, but shined as his Super Bowl performance included an 87 yard punt return, two carries and a reception, totaling 137 yards.
The Seahawks defense approached Manning and the Broncos with their gloves laced up and ready to land the first blow. Kam Chancellor’s hit on Julius Thomas set the physical tone early on. Cliff Avril hit Manning’s arm on a pass attempt, leading to Malcolm Smith’s 69 yard interception return, giving the Seahawks a 22-0 lead. Seattle kept Manning under relentless pressure throughout the game.
Demaryius Thomas was the only recognizable player in a Broncos uniform. Thomas caught 13 balls for 118 yards, including the team’s lone score. Wes Welker had 8 receptions for 84 yards. Each reception came with a price as the sizable Seattle secondary made it a point not to let Welker beat them. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball accounted for only 18 yards on 11 carries and were unable to give the Seattle defense anything to worry about.
For all of his five regular season Most Valuable Player awards, Peyton Manning never saw anything like last night. Throughout his career most teams have been resigned to the fact of Manning “getting his” and daring his supporting cast to beat them. Last night, the Seahawks sent pass rushers from all over the field and relied on the coverage of the linebackers and secondary to make plays. Seattle had the perfect game plan and more importantly the perfect personnel to complete the mission.
I wrote earlier this week about Russell Wilson and the historical significance of a Super Bowl victory. Wilson becoming the second African-American starting quarterback to lay claim to the Vince Lombardi Trophy is great, but he’s done it in his second season with a wonderful career in front of him. There is no chance of backlash from the front office or being unceremoniously dismissed from the game without warning or reason.
The Peyton Manning Era has ended, the days of dominance for Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are numbered as well. Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson lead a group of talented quarterbacks capable of winning with their arms or legs — a notion which has been doubted in the NFL for decades.
This marks the first time an African-American quarterback has won the Heisman Trophy, National Championship and the Super Bowl in the same year.
When Doug Williams made history a generation ago, it was more about African-American quarterbacks and an opportunity to succeed in leading a team. Russell Wilson and Co. are ready to carry the NFL into a new era of quarterback.