The 2013 NFL season has come to a close, ending in a way that no one was expecting.
Super Bowl XLVIII was expected to be an incredibly close game between the league's best defense in the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL's best offense in the Denver Broncos. Instead, the Seahawks completely dominated the game in almost every positional battle, winning 43-8.
|Super Bowl XLVIII Box Score|
From the very start of the game, it looked like Peyton Manning and the Broncos were seriously struggling. After Trindon Holliday failed to return a deep kickoff past the 20-yard line, Manny Ramirez snapped the ball early on the very first play from scrimmage. The ball bounced all the way to the back of the end zone, and Knowshon Moreno fell on it to give Seattle the safety.
According to Seattle's Twitter account, it was the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history, happening only 12 seconds into the game.
After a couple of field goals by Steven Hauschka in the first quarter, things didn't feel too out of hand for the Broncos at 8-0. This was Manning we were talking about, and he was in the process of having the greatest season of any quarterback ever.
However, things got ugly quickly.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Marshawn Lynch was able to drive in for a one-yard touchdown run. As the Broncos tried to get something to happen in the second, they kept stalling. But it looked like the Broncos had a chance to score with a little over three minutes remaining before halftime.
Instead, Manning was hit and an attempted pass went straight up in the air. Malcolm Smith picked off Manning, taking the pass 69 yards for a huge defensive touchdown to put his team up 22-0 heading into halftime.
That play, along with nine total tackles and a fumble recovery, helped Smith, a former seventh-round selection, win the Super Bowl MVP award.
If there was any hope for Denver fans that their team could come back, it quickly faded away as soon as the second half started. Percy Harvin, who had only played in two other games the entire season and playoffs, took a kickoff return 87 yards to the house, putting his team up 29-0 and giving Denver the knockout blow.
After the Seahawks scored another touchdown, this time a 23-yard pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse, the Broncos were able to finally get on the board at the end of the third quarter. Manning was able to find Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown as time expired, converting a two-point conversion as well.
But it didn't matter, as the Broncos were still down 36-8. However, according to Will Brinson from CBS Sports, that touchdown pass helped Thomas break the Super Bowl record for receptions in a game. He finished the game with 13 catches.
The final quarter came and went without too much more action besides another touchdown by Wilson, this time to Doug Baldwin, and another turnover by Manning, getting stripped while in the pocket.
At the end of the day, the Broncos were outplayed for nearly all 60 minutes. Wilson looked like the established veteran during the game while Manning looked like the nervous younger player.
The Legion of Boom was dominant throughout, and it felt like any of the defensive players would have been deserving of the Super Bowl MVP award. The Seahawks proved that they had one of the most dominant teams in a very long time, and their defense will go down as one of the most memorable in NFL history.