In a blowout win that no one expected in the Super Bowl, it came as no surprise that an unpredictable winner of the MVP award would be crowned.
The Seattle Seahawks cruised to a 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos and did so thanks to their suffocating defense known as the Legion of Boom. At the head of that effort was a little-known linebacker named Malcolm Smith, who came away with a pick-six and 10 tackles in the Super Bowl.
Those final numbers earned him an MVP award that puts him in rare territory for past winners, according to Jon Zimmer of NFL media publications:
Smith winning the award as a linebacker was surprising, but he certainly wasn't the only top performer in the blowout win for the Seahawks. And while Denver certainly didn't put together a memorable team performance, one player did shine in MetLife Stadium.
Here is the Super Bowl MVP breakdown and a look at the best players in the Super Bowl.
Malcolm Smith, LB, Seattle Seahawks
The moment was a triumphant one for Smith, who had this unforgettable interception return for a touchdown off legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
It came when the game was already in hand for the Seahawks at 15-0 in the first half. But then again, the game never appeared to be in question for Seattle.
Smith's 10 tackles were also huge for the Seahawks, but his interception will be the one Seahawks and Broncos fans remember. The jubilation for Smith comes just days after a low moment for the linebacker, as Dave Mahler of 950 KJR in Seattle notes:
Malcolm Smith named MVP. His Uncle died a few days ago. He told me he wanted to win it for him.— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) February 3, 2014
The triumphant story gets even better for Smith, who was not only a forgotten member of the Seahawks leading up to the game but was barely noticed coming out of USC.
The former seventh-rounder who was drafted by his former coach Pete Carroll wasn't even thought of when the draft combine came around in 2011, as Noah Coslov of CineSport points out:
Malcolm Smith: "I wasn't invited to the Combine" - #SuperBowlMVP— Noah Coslov (@NoahCoslov) February 3, 2014
Smith's emergence on the biggest stage was likely the best story coming out of the Super Bowl, but there were two other offensive players who finished with great numbers of their own.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
He was nearly asked to do it all for the Broncos defense, and Demaryius Thomas certainly put forth his best effort.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough; Denver was trampled by Seattle.
The Broncos receiver set a record for receptions with 13 catches, according to John Breech of CBS Sports. Thomas went off for 118 yards and the lone touchdown Manning threw, but the eight points the Broncos scored from his touchdown and Wes Welker's two-point conversion came late in the third quarter.
But much like the rest of his Broncos teammates, Thomas had a few lowlights as well. While his numbers were great, he fumbled the ball on a good drive by Denver in the third quarter.
Thomas now has an average of 106.7 receiving yards per game and five total touchdowns through his six postseason games, according to Pro Football Reference. But with the Broncos coming up short yet again with Thomas as the lead receiver, his numbers will be forgotten.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Though it wasn't really necessary with the way his defense performed, Russell Wilson exceeded expectations in the biggest game of his life.
The former N.C. State and Wisconsin quarterback finished with over 200 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while his counterpart struggled just to get his offense going. It wasn't expected, but it was certainly a performance worthy of MVP consideration.
It was so noteworthy, in fact, that the NFL's official Twitter account mentioned Wilson in MVP talks during the game:
The second-year quarterback not only got the job done in the pocket, he scrambled his way out of several tough situations to deliver for his team. His playmaking ability was on full display on the biggest stage of his young career.
Wilson's play coming from a young quarterback is what was so surprising for Jim Rome of CBS Sports:
Russell Wilson, just 25, and completely outplayed one of the guys on QB Rushmore.— Jim Rome (@jimrome) February 3, 2014
While he didn't earn the trophy, Wilson certainly put together a huge showing that could lead to an even greater season for him in his third year. We'll just have to wait and see what comes next for the 25-year-old Super Bowl champion.
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