EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If you saw this one coming, get to Vegas fast.
Seattle's vaunted defense set its place in history Sunday night by leading the Seahawks to a 43-8 blowout over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.
The Broncos' No. 1 offense could not figure out a way around the NFL's best defense. It's the fifth time in Super Bowl history the top offense faced the top defense, and the defenses have won four of those matchups.
The Seahawks' defense scored on the game's first play and by halftime had a 22-0 lead after two interceptions, one that was returned 69 yards by Malcolm Smith with 3:21 left before halftime.
And if you thought it couldn't get any worse, it did.
Seattle's Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff of the second half 81 yards for a 29-0 lead just 12 seconds into the third quarter.
That pretty much sealed the win for the Seahawks, who claimed their first Super Bowl in franchise history in two tries. And if it didn't seem like it, Demaryius Thomas' fumble after a catch midway through the third quarter was another sign it wasn't the Broncos' night.
"We've been relentless all season," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "Having that mentality of having a championship day every day. At the end of the day, you want to play your best football and that is what we did today."
The Seahawks took a 36-0 lead six plays later on Jermaine Kearse's 23-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson when Kearse made a crazy spin move and cut through Denver's beleaguered defense.
Denver finally got on the scoreboard when Peyton Manning connected with Thomas for a 14-yard score to pull within 36-8 after the two-point conversion at the end of the third quarter. Thomas set a Super Bowl record with his 12th catch of the night.
"Certainly to finish this way is very disappointing. It's not an easy pill to swallow," said Manning, who threw for a record 55 touchdowns in 2013, two years after missing an entire season because of neck surgeries. "I don't know if you ever really get over it."
The Broncos dropped to 2-5 in their Super Bowl history, and this was their first trip since winning the Lombardi Trophy to cap the 1998 season. After losing on the first four trips to the big game, the Broncos won back-to-back to end the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
It didn't start well Sunday as the Broncos gave up a safety on the game's first offensive play after Trindon Holliday came out of the end zone from six yards deep on the kickoff and was stopped at the 14-yard line. Broncos center Manny Ramirez flew the first snap past Manning and into the end zone. The Seahawks had a 2-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game. It goes down as the quickest score in Super Bowl history.
The Seahawks dominated the first quarter for an 8-0 lead and then really took control in the second quarter. Denver had just 11 total yards, no first downs, and gave up a safety and interception in the first quarter.
After Smith's interception return, Denver got the ball back with just over 3 minutes left in the half, but didn't get on the scoreboard. Instead the team chose to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 19-yard line with 1:03 to play. Manning's pass to Demaryius Thomas was short, and the Seahawks took over and ran off the final minute of the half.
Manning was 17-of-23 passing for 104 yards in the first half, but the interceptions were killers. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was just 9-of-14 for 94 yards, but had key third-down plays.
After the safety, the Seahawks took the ensuing Britton Colquitt punt back to their 36-yard line. After picking up three first downs and losing a challenge on a spot, Seattle claimed a 5-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal less than five minutes into the game.
Denver's second drive got a boost after the kick went through the end zone and the Seahawks were called for a personal foul, moving the ball to the Broncos' 35-yard line to start. But they picked up just seven yards and had to punt.
Denver's defense had another big stand, holding Seattle to a second field goal for an 8-0 lead after that 13-play drive with 2:16 left in first quarter. To that point Manning had just four offensive plays.
Manning threw just his second interception of the postseason on their next drive to set up Seattle on the Broncos' 37-yard line with 59 seconds left in first quarter.
Seattle scored seven plays later on Marshawn Lynch's 1-yard for a 15-0 lead three minutes into the second quarter. The drive was aided by a Broncos pass interference in the end zone by Tony Carter, moving the ball to the 1-yard line.
Denver picked up its first first down of the game with 10:30 left in the first half, and it was a sustained drive Broncos fans have been used to this season.
But it stalled after a first-down holding penalty and Manning's second interception, which Smith returned for a 22-0 lead.
Since winning the Broncos' last Super Bowl, John Elway put together a team in three seasons that nearly attained football's highest reward. As a quarterback, Elway led the Broncos to two Super Bowl championships. He retired following the second title and was hired three years ago to build a winner.
Elway had a false start in his first season as the team's executive vice president of football operations, but after signing Manning in March 2012, the Broncos suddenly were on the right track.
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