What a massive letdown.
As Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk reported, prior to this game, just four Super Bowls had been played with a spread of a field goal or less. The Broncos were three-point favorites at places like Bovada.
This was supposed to be an epic battle between the record-setting pass offense of the Broncos facing the NFL's best defense.
There was the dream of Peyton Manning trying to execute a two-minute drive with the game on the line. That didn't come close to happening.
The Broncos were never in this game, and it became fairly obvious early. On the first snap of the game, Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Peyton Manning's head and the Seahawks had a safety.
Denver held Seattle to a field goal on the possession following their safety punt but went three and out on the next possession. From that point on, the Broncos were facing an uphill battle, and they didn't do much climbing.
Russell Wilson is the real deal
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson saw his stats plummet over the second half of this season.
It became easy to view Wilson as a game manager considering that prior to the Super Bowl he had not thrown more than a single touchdown pass in a game since Dec. 2.
That notion of a game manager was cast off in the Super Bowl:
Wilson overthrew his first pass and was nearly flawless after that. He finished the game going 18-of-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, that isn't the most impressive stat line, but Seattle didn't need him to pick up big yards.
Time and time again, Wilson hit for big plays on third down to extend drives. This tweet came from the first half:
On third down Wilson is 4-for-4, 65 yards. Other two downs: 3-for-7, 17 yards.— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) February 3, 2014
Wilson was delivering a beautiful ball all game.
This was a supremely efficient and heady game for any quarterback. For a quarterback in the Super Bowl in just his second season, it was spectacular.
The AFC was not nearly as fierce as the NFC
The Broncos rolled this season, and that extended into the playoffs. Obviously, the play of Manning and the passing game was at the center of the success. A big part of that success came from the stellar play of the Broncos' offensive line.
Manning was sacked just once in the Super Bowl, but he was hit four times and pressured on many others. He was never able to get comfortable in the pocket, and the Broncos never got in a rhythm as a result.
That pressure also was a main factor in both of Manning's interceptions:
It is easy to say that the Broncos' offensive line had a poor day, but that doesn't give enough credit to the Seahawks.
Seattle's defensive front seven brought a physicality that the Broncos' offensive line was not prepared to handle.
It is clear after watching the Super Bowl that the offensive line of the Broncos was made to look better than it is. That was certainly the case in the playoffs, as the Broncos faced the soft front seven of the San Diego Chargers and then the injury-ravaged front seven of the New England Patriots.
This was not just a win for the Seahawks but for the entire NFC.