Super Bowl 2014: Examining Top Plays That Led to Outcome of Seahawks vs. Broncos

David DanielsSenior Writer IFebruary 2, 2014

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) reacts after running back an interception for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Super Bowl 2014 wasn't won in one .

Far from it. Several plays proved that the were the best team in the NFL this season as they defeated the Denver Broncos by the score of 43-8.

Here were the most important plays to the Seahawks' blowout. 


Cliff Avril Safety

Miscommunication between Peyton Manning and center Manny Ramirez led to a botched snap. Avril proceeded to tackle Knowshon Moreno, who recovered the loose football, in the end zone, giving the Seahawks two on a safety. This is rather than six points from a touchdown had a Legion of Boom defender recovered the ball.

However, a 30-yard Percy Harvin run for Seattle from scrimmage set up a field goal, turning Manning and Ramirez's mishap into a five-point error.


Kam Chancellor Interception

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Still searching for the Broncos' first first down of the game with a minute to go in the first quarter, Manning threw a pass too high for the 6'5" Julius Thomas. The ball wasn't too high for Kam Chancellor, who picked it off, giving Seattle the ball in Denver territory once again. Manning had entered the Super Bowl having only thrown 11 interceptions.

The Seahawks' first touchdown, a one-yard Marshawn Lynch run—aided by a pass interference call on Denver's Tony Carter—followed the turnover. At that point, Seattle held a 15-0 lead, 12 of those points coming off turnovers.


Malcolm Smith Interception Touchdown

Denver had finally marched its way into Seattle territory. It didn't stay there long. Seattle's pass rush created pressure on a 3rd-and-13 that Manning reacted to by throwing a duck.

Smith, who snagged Richard Sherman's game-winning deflection in the NFC Championship, ran under said duck and took it the distance. The turnover gave the Seahawks a 22-0 lead and marked only the third time this season Manning threw multiple interceptions in a single game.


Chris Clemons Pass Defended

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press/Associated Press

On 4th-and-2 from the Seahawks' 19-yard line down 22 points, Denver decided that it needed a touchdown. Manning attempted to get the football to Demaryius Thomas, but the 6'3" Chris Clemons tipped the pass from his defensive end position.

Seattle went on to run down the clock, holding onto its three-score lead and cementing its first-half shutout of the Broncos.


Percy Harvin Kickoff Return Touchdown

Matt Prater tried to kick away from Harvin. He failed.

Harvin fielded the opening kickoff of the second half at the 13-yard line and returned it for a touchdown. A three-score comeback against a Seahawks defense that hadn't allowed a point in the first half would've been difficult enough. The need for a four-score comeback as Harvin pranced into the end zone seemed to all but guarantee a Seattle victory.


Demaryius Thomas Fumble

Matt York/Associated Press

The best offense at finishing drives during the regular season in NFL history lost that ability on Sunday evening. As soon as the Broncos inched into Seahawks territory midway through the third quarter, Byron Maxwell stripped Thomas of the football and Smith recovered.

The turnover eventually led to a 23-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse, which deserves mention as a top play in its own right, but it wouldn't have been possible had the Legion of Boom not forced its third turnover.

Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but the odds that he led Denver to a miraculous comeback evaporated as Seattle stretched its lead to 36 points.


David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.