Seahawks defense dominates Super Bowl
One thing is for certain, the Seattle Seahawks were clearly the better team on Super Bowl Sunday. With a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks claimed their first title in franchise history. This game wasn't even close and it got ugly within seconds, literally.
The Seahawks won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Broncos' fans were ready to see what their offense could do. That turned out to be nothing as the first snap of the game was a miscommunication between center Manny Ramirez and Peyton Manning. The ball went flying into the end zone where Knowshon Moreno fell on it for a safety. The fastest score in Super Bowl history had set the tone for the night.
There just wasn't much the Denver Broncos could do right from that point forward. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said it exactly right by stating the game was "kind of like an avalanche." That is exactly what it felt like for the Broncos from the very first snap. Nothing they did seemed to go right and it just never turned around.
Surprisingly, from a statistical view, Denver didn't get blown away. Obviously the score was lopsided but both teams were very close in most of the big categories that are usually important in a game.
However, the two main categories that contributed to the massacre were turnovers and rushing yards. Seattle out-rushed Denver by 108 yards and took the ball away from them four times. Speaking of turnovers, we can't forget the fact that Seattle has the best defense in the NFL.
That stingy Seahawks defense loaded the box on 31.3 percent of the plays that the Broncos ran and caused Manning and the rest of the offense to be out of sync all night. Manning attempted 49 passes but had to get rid of the ball quickly on almost all of them.
That led to a very low yards-per-pass (5.7) and appeared to mess with his psyche. He connected on just four of his 11 pass attempts that traveled farther than 10 yards downfield. With no running game, the defense was able to keep everything in front of them and bottle up the receivers when they made the catch.
What does all this mean? It means Manning was held to a total QBR of just 24.4 percent, which was te worst in a Super Bowl since 2006.
Although Manning still threw for almost 300 yards, the defensive challenge that he faced turned out to be too much to handle. The Broncos never got on the scoreboard until the last second ticked off the clock in the third quarter when Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown strike. Wes Welker caught the pass to convert on the 2-point-conversion attempt and that closed the scoring for the Broncos on this night.
The Seahawks' defense couldn't have done it without an offense, right?
Well, Russell Wilson and company put together a rather unspectacular night offensively. In their defense, however, they weren't asked to do much. With just over 200 yards passing, Wilson was efficient and didn't turn the ball over. He tossed two touchdowns while Marshawn Lynch punched in a 1-yard TD run. The defense, special teams, and kicker Steven Hauschka did the rest. In fact, by the end of the first quarter, the defense and Hauschka had already matched what Denver would score all night.
The MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII was even from the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Malcolm Smith, fourth-youngest player to win SB MVP, took home this prestigious individual award after intercepting a pass from Manning and taking it for a 69-yard touchdown. He also had a fumble recovery later in the game.
Even more interesting than Smith winning MVP, the Seahawks actually have the fourth-youngest roster to ever win a Super Bowl. With the average age of just over 26 years old, the Seahawks could be primed to make a run at a repeat next year. In fact, according to RJ Bell of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com, the Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers are the favored teams for next year's Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, football season is now over and next season is far away, so we will just have to wait and see who comes out as a favorite. However, now that we know how the game turned out, we can answer the question from last week.
What happens when the best offense meets the best defense? The best defense dominates and comes out a 43-8 winner in Super Bowl XLVIII.
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