The Sunday showdown featured the No. 1 offense and defense in the NFL. What the world thought would be a close competition turned out to be reaffirmation of the cliche "defense wins championships."
Here is a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the least competitive Super Bowl in recent memory.
Denver couldn't have imagined much worse start to its first Super Bowl since the John Elway era. A horrendously botched snap on the Broncos' 14-yard line led to a safety and two-point Seahawks lead just seconds into the contest.
A 30-yard run from Percy Harvin, who had sat out all but two prior games this season due to injury, thrust Seattle into field-goal territory, but Denver's defense ultimately held Marshawn Lynch and Co. to three points.
The Broncos countered with a three-play drive, which the Seahawks followed with three more points on another Steven Hauschka field goal. It stretched Seattle's lead to eight points.
Yet another three-and-out ended not with a punt, but a Kam Chancellor interception. The turnover made Denver, the highest scoring team in NFL history, the first offense in Super Bowl history to fail record a first down in the first quarter.
Score: Seattle 8, Denver 0
Denver nearly held Seattle to its third field goal. However, cornerback Tony Carter drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone while covering Golden Tate, setting up the Seahawks with a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line. Lynch cashed in on the ground, giving Seattle a 15-0 lead.
The Broncos' offense finally converted a first down. They rode the much-needed momentum on a 16-play drive into Seattle territory. That 16th play, though, resulted in an interception that Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith returned for a touchdown.
Manning almost didn't get the ball back thanks to a near-Trindon Holliday fumble, but the NFL MVP went on to lead another long drive. He marched Denver down to the Seattle 19 but then failed to connect with Demaryius Thomas on a 4th-and-2.
Score: Seattle 22, Denver 0
As if Denver didn't already have a deep enough hole to dig itself out of, it surrendered an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown to Harvin on the first play of the second half. The Broncos drove the ball into the Seahawks' territory each of their next three possessions.
The teams exchanged punts before, on the second of those three possessions, Thomas coughed up the football and Seattle recovered. Russell Wilson then marched the Seahawks' offense down their short field, finishing the drive in the end zone—a feat that Denver struggled so mightily with—by finding Jermaine Kearse, who broke multiple arm tackles before finding paydirt.
The Broncos finally answered their next possession. Manning hit Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown pass, erasing the goose egg on their side of the scoreboard, and then connected with Wes Welker for the two-point conversion.
Score: Seattle 36, Denver 8
Seattle recovered an onside kick attempt by Matt Prater to begin the fourth quarter. Denver likely expected to the Seahawks to try to run out the clock. They didn't.
Wilson threw five straight passes, the fifth a 10-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin, giving Seattle a 43-8 lead. Fans who turned their television off as Baldwin celebrated didn't miss much from there.
Denver and Seattle turned the ball over on downs over the next two possessions. The Seahawks then forced their fourth turnover of the ballgame by stripping Manning of the football on fourth down. It proved to be the last noteworthy play of the contest.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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