Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., got off to a wild start.
Peyton Manning, in search of his second Lombardi Trophy at the age of 37 after the best season by a signal-caller in league history, saw the opening snap of the season sail over his head into his own end zone.
The Seahawks took advantage of the miscommunication and took a 2-0 lead—the score was the fastest in Super Bowl history:
Seattle then took the ball with the lead and got a major play from wideout Percy Harvin, who joined the team last offseason but missed most of the season with injuries. As the Seahawks' Twitter account illustrates, Harvin made the most of his first touch of the game:
After an unsuccessful challenge from coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks settled for a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka to go up 5-0.
While a horrible start for the Broncos, they were down just five with fewer than five minutes off the clock.
But the Seattle defense proved up to the task of stopping Manning when his own offensive line was not, forcing a quick three-and-out. SportsCenter put it best:
A safety on a bad snap. One three-and-out. Not the start the Broncos were looking for. #SB48— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 2, 2014
After the punt, it was the Russell Wilson show. The Seahawks drove down the field on 13 plays, ran up a 4-of-5 mark on third down and saw their star quarterback do all of the following:
- Hit Golden Tate for nine yards
- Hit Michael Robinson for seven more
- Hit Doug Baldin for six yards
- Hit Percy Harvin for five more
- Hit Baldwin once more, this time for 37 yards on third down:
A strong defensive stand by the Broncos saw the Seahawks settle for another Hauschka field goal, this time from 33 yards away to take an eight-point lead.
The nightmare quarter for the Broncos was far from over.
Manning and Co. took the ball back with just over a minute remaining in the opening quarter—and gave it back via an interception by Seattle's Kam Chancellor, who continued to make his early bid for the MVP award:
Of course, his quarterback may have something to say about that. CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel illustrated Wilson's impressive quarter:
On third down Wilson is 4-for-4, 65 yards. Other two downs: 3-for-7, 17 yards.— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) February 3, 2014
Perhaps the biggest storyline to take out of the first quarter, other than the score, was the fact both teams will be without an added challenge. Carroll lost his challenge early, and John Fox lost his late with the Seahawks in the red zone on what appeared to be a backward pass.
The lack of a third challenge for either side may play a major factor later in the contest.