East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Defense wins championships.
The NFL has done everything in its power to change that dynamic over the past
few years but it still held up in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday as the league's
best defense put together a stifling effort to top the best offense in the
history of the game..
Seattle punished Denver, 43-8, to win the franchise's first Super Bowl title
and it did it with speed, athleticism and good old-fashioned physicality..
The Seahawks' back seven was too fast for the Broncos' screen game, their
defensive lineman were far too athletic for their counterparts on the Denver
O-line, and when the Broncos' playmakers did actually get their hands on the
football, the Seattle defenders were there to lay the wood.
So much so that Icy Hot is probably going to show up on a host of Broncos'
Amazon wish lists on Monday.
Things went south for the Broncos on their first offensive play when center
Manny Ramirez snapped the ball as Manning was approaching the line to relay a
a protection call, resulting in the fastest score in Super Bowl history, a
safety after only 12 seconds. Only Knowshon Moreno's hustle to get back on the
football kept Seattle from scoring a defensive touchdown but that only delayed
The Seahawks thoroughly dominated the first quarter, amassing 148 total
yards to Denver's 11. The Broncos, who recorded one three-and-out through
their first two postseason games, would have loved more of those but they
sandwiched the first turnover around a three-and-out with a Peyton Manning
Seattle also made good with the free kick after the safety when Percy Harvin,
who touched the football all of six times in the regular season and returned
after missing the NFC title game with a concussion, used an end-around for a
30-yard run to set up a Steven Hauschka 31-yard field goal which gave the
Seahawks a 5-0 edge in the bottom of the second (or less than five minutes
into the game).
On Seattle's next possession after the three-and-out, quarterback Russell
Wilson saw Doug Baldwin badly beat the aging and descending Champ Bailey and
dropped one into the bucket for a 37-yard gain down the left sideline to the
The Seahawks had to settle for three again -- on a 33-yard field goal from
Hauschka -- after Broncos linebacker Nate Irving brilliantly knocked the ball
out of Jermaine Kearse's hands on a deft third-down pass from Wilson at the
back of the end zone.
You could sense some uneasiness on Seattle's side because field goals instead
of touchdowns against Manning usually spells doom.
But, this was different. The Seahawks' pass rush had Manning spooked and he
was hurrying and being forced off his spots, the key to combating perhaps the
greatest regular-season QB in NFL history.
Happy feet caused Manning to badly overthrow Julius Thomas on a third-down
play and Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor was there playing center field,
setting Seattle up again deep in Denver territory as the second quarter
The Broncos defense seemed to be stiffening again until nickel back Tony
Carter was caught face-guarding Golden Tate in the end zone, resulting in an
eventual 1-yard Marshawn Lynch TD run.
Denver finally recorded a first down after nearly 20 minutes of game time on
its next possession but a 15-play drive was thwarted when Cliff Avril got to
Manning's right arm, forcing a deflected throw into the arms of Malcolm Smith,
who raced 69 yards the other way for a 22-0 Seahawks advantage.
Any thoughts of Peyton and Co. making the necessary halftime adjustments and
pulling off an historic comeback were quickly erased when Broncos special
teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers came out of the locker room calling for a
mortar kick when he saw the dynamic Harvin deep.
The mortar didn't blow up the play, though, it exploded when Harvin cut back
across the field and took it 87 yards to the house and an insurmountable 29-0
It was two hours of extended garbage time from there, good news for few
except the Seahawks, reporters on deadline and perhaps New Jersey Transit,
which reportedly had a devil of time funneling tens of thousands of people
into the Meadowlands Sports Complex in what was billed as the first mass-
transit Super Bowl.
When Kearse took a slant and ping-ponged off four Denver tacklers to make it a
36-0 laugher with just under three minutes to go in the third, you couldn't
help but think Pete Carroll might channel Lenny Wilkens or George Karl and
empty his bench.
Seattle kept coming, however.
After all, there was something to prove -- defense still wins championships.
The Sports Network