Seahawks smack down Broncos in Super Bowl

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Seahawks smack down Broncos in Super Bowl

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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. [USA TODAY/NEWS1]

The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title Sunday night in overpowering fashion, punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 43-8.

The Seahawks’ relentless defense, the NFL’s tightest, never let the five-time NFL Most Valuable Player get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.

Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver, and that was true in all areas. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.

Punctuating Seattle’s dominance were a 69-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith to make it 22-0, and Percy Harvin’s sensational 87-yard kickoff runback to open the second half.

When the Seahawks, up by 29 points, forced a Denver punt early in the third quarter, the 12th Man - and there were legions of them in MetLife Stadium - began chanting “L-O-B, L-O-B.”

As in Legion of Boom, the Seahawks hard-hitting defensive secondary line.

“This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point, but they never have taken a step sideways,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.”

The loss by the Broncos again raised questions about Manning’s ability to win the biggest games. He has 11 wins and 12 losses in the postseason and is 1-2 in Super Bowls.

Manning never looked comfortable against a defense that some will begin comparing to the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens - other NFL champions who had runaway Super Bowl victories.

Seattle forced four turnovers; Denver had 26 all season.

The Seahawks looked comfortable and at ease, and not just their defense, which lost All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman to an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.

Russell Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including the playoffs, had a 23-yard TD pass to Jermaine Kearse late in the third quarter to make it 36-0.

Wilson also hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score in the final period in what had become one of the most lopsided Super Bowls.

For the fifth time in six meetings between the NFL’s No. 1 offense and defense, the defense dominated. Only Denver in 1990, when it lost in the biggest romp in Super Bowl history, 55-10, against San Francisco, failed with the top defense.

“We’ve been relentless all season,” 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.”

Denver fell to 2-5 in Super Bowls, and by the end many of Manning’s passes resembled the “ducks” Sherman said the All-Pro quarterback sometimes threw.

No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city before - not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, with a 49-degree (10 degrees Celsius) temperature at kickoff. And no Super Bowl has started more bizarrely.

Steven Hauschka, who missed only 2 of 40 field goals entering the game, made a 31-yarder for a 5-0 lead and a 33-yarder to make it 8-0 after Baldwin ran past 15-year veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, in his first Super Bowl, for 37 yards on third down.

Then the Seahawks began scoring touchdowns. Manning’s third-down pass to Julius Thomas sailed way too high and directly to safety Kam Chancellor, giving the Seahawks the ball at Denver’s 37.

AP

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