The Seattle Seahawks continued their dominance over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos early in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII, taking a 22-0 lead into halftime.
After grabbing an 8-0 lead in the first quarter via two field goals and a safety, the Seahawks needed just seven plays and 3:59 of game clock to take a 15-point lead after a Marshawn Lynch one-yard touchdown.
CBS Sports' Will Brinson was one of many to point out just how badly the Seahawks had outplayed the Broncos to that point:
Russell Wilson has more passing attempts (13) than the Broncos have net yards (11) after 1st Q. Not the Denver script.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 3, 2014
To play off Brinson's numbers, the Seahawks had run up a 27-7 advantage in play counts and a 161-11 advantage in total yards.
In the face of the cold-weather narrative, the questions about his future in the sport and his overall legacy, Manning found himself in a do-or-die drive that proved to make a big impact on the game.
Things looked great from the start. The Broncos drove down the field on 16 plays and moved the sticks four times—something they had failed to do at all in the opening quarter. Much of the success came on screen plays to the likes of wideout Demaryius Thomas, which capitalized on the aggressive nature of the Seattle secondary.
As Mike Klis of the Denver Post illustrates, Manning was even standing tall in the pocket and delivering strikes while taking hits:
Peyton Manning comes through while getting hit by Chris Clemons.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) February 3, 2014
But that eventually came back to bite Manning, as he stood too long in the pocket later in the drive and had his arm hit in the process of a throw while in field-goal range. The result was an interception by Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith, who took it back 69 yards to give the Seahawks a 22-0 edge:
While not entirely Manning's fault, the veteran fans are so used to seeing admit defeat on similar plays simply attempted to do too much in a bad situation.
For those fans who follow Manning, the play surely had quite a familiar vibe:
Seattle’s TD pick six was the longest Super Bowl TD since ……. Tracy Porter’s pick six. Against Peyton Manning. Oof.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 3, 2014
Disaster almost struck on the very next play, as Denver returner Trindon Holliday fumbled his return. After a review, the entire state of Colorado collectively let out its bated breath, as Holliday was ruled down.
The review mattered little in the grand scheme of things outside of field position, as Denver ran nine plays and entered field-goal range—only to turn the ball over on downs with a little more than a minute left in the half.
Seattle then elected to not take any risks while up 22 points and killed the rest of the clock.
The Broncos managed to catch up on the stat sheet in most categories, but the shutout was the first since Super Bowl XXXV when the Baltimore Ravens blanked the New York Giants in the first half.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks get the ball to start the second half. Expect a conservative, run-first approach with running back Marshawn Lynch in order to eat the clock and keep Manning off the field—regardless of his poor play and matching performance by those in front of him thus far.