The final quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII was merely a formality.
The Seattle Seahawks entered the final frame with a 36-8 advantage over the Denver Broncos and stayed the course for the rest of the contest on the way to a convincing 43-8 victory on Sunday night.
Denver had scored on the final play of the third quarter, so the Broncos came out and attempted an onside kick, which Seattle tight end Zach Miller was able to easily recover.
As was the case in the third quarter, Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense did not take their foot off the gas. Five plays later, it was wideout Doug Baldwin getting in on the action via a 10-yard connection with Wilson:
Troy Aikman, via Fox Sports on Twitter, summed up the game best after the score:
"I don't know what Denver's doing." - @TroyAikman— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) February 3, 2014
From there, it was simply a case of going through the motions for both teams (although Denver started doing that much earlier), but bad news did strike for the Seahawks—star cornerback Richard Sherman hurt his ankle and had to be carted off the field, per the Seahawks' Twitter account:
Richard Sherman has an ankle injury and his return is doubtful. #SB48— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 3, 2014
Seattle finally eased up and also turned the ball over on downs. But the defense was not done pestering the legendary Manning just yet, swatting the ball out of his hands on Denver's next drive—a fumble that was, of course, recovered by the Seahawks.
It got so out of hand by this point that the Seahawks actually pulled Wilson from the game as the second string worked to run out the rest of the clock.
In the end, a variety of questions will be asked about Manning in the coming months. While warranted, the entirety of the Broncos roster across the board did not show up, so it would be a folly to only blame Manning.
Denver simply did not have enough physicality or the necessary strategy to keep up with Seattle.
The Seahawks started the celebration the right way by dousing head coach Pete Carroll:
For his efforts, which included an interception of Manning that he returned for a touchdown, linebacker Malcolm Smith was named MVP, according to Jon Zimmer, the league's lead editor of media publications:
Carroll's Seahawks are Super Bowl champions after a season in which they routinely dominated the competition as the NFL's most complete team. While it was perhaps the worst Super Bowl in recent memory for fans hoping to see a competitive game, the proper team hoisted the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the night.