By Teresa Russo
Around 111.5 million viewers tuned in to watch what was supposed to be a well matched Super Bowl XLVIII, but many were disappointed in what turned out to be a blow out. Russell Wilson, quarterback for Seattle, led the Seahawks to a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos. Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson compiled a 58 percent conversion rate on third down, and was able to avoid any attempt at a sack from the Denver defense. Wilson committed zero turnovers, while Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, managed to throw two first-half interceptions and also fumbled in the second half. The first play of the game set the negative tone for Manning and Denver.
As millions of fans watched the game on flat screens from their couches, chips in hand and beverages sitting on the coffee table, Manning, legendary quarterback called the first play. Former Detroit Lion guard Manny Ramirez, now the starting center for the Denver Broncos, snapped the ball in a moment of miscommunication, Manning’s eyes began to bulge as he along with millions of fans across the nation watched the football sail high above his head and into the Bronco end zone. One quick Knowshon Moreno recovery later Seattle had earned a 2-0 lead. All of this occurring within the first 15 seconds of the game.
It became apparent from the start the Seattle players, representing the youngest team in the league, were not going to let inexperience stop them. Play after play the Seattle defense demolished every Bronco attempt at a first down. Eventually late in the second quarter the Broncos obtained their inaugural first-down. Denver’s success was short lived. As Manning was in the process of releasing a pass, his arm collided with the hand of another former Detroit Lions player, defensive end Cliff Avril, whose hand tipped the football towards the welcoming linebacker, Malcolm Smith. Smith dodged numerous oncoming Bronco players, leading his teammates into the end zone, for a 69-yard interception return. The game went into halftime with Seattle leading 22-0.
The beginning of the second half could have been a chance towards a fresh start for Denver, but yet again the first play proved to doom the team. Denver aimed to kick the ball so it would bounce, ultimately attempting to avoid key player wide receiver, Percy Harvin from receiving the ball. This attempt failed as Harvin did just that, he caught the ball and dashed 87 yards toward the now familiar Denver end zone. It took the Seattle defense just 12 seconds to make the score 29-0, gaining early momentum and putting points on the board again.
Denver’s lone touchdown came at the end of the third quarter, a 14-yard catch by Demaryius Thomas. Denver converted a 2-point conversion, giving them the only eight points they would score the entire game.
Malcolm Smith would go on to win the game’s MVP award, becoming the first defensive player since Dexter Jackson won the honor for his performance in Super Bowl XXXVII. Smith had no interceptions in his first 44 games, but tallied four in the last five games.