NFL Nation: Super Bowl XLVIII grades

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Denver Broncos were thoroughly outclassed by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. The first half was an unqualified disaster, and the second half wasn't much better. When you were a child, if you took this kind of report card home to your parents, you'd be grounded for a month.

PASSING OFFENSE


Things couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the Broncos. On their first snap from scrimmage, a shotgun snap sailed over Peyton Manning's head for a safety. Manning threw two interceptions in the first half, one returned for a touchdown by Malcolm Smith, who was named MVP. Denver finally scored in the final minute of the third quarter, a TD pass to Demaryius Thomas, who set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions (for 118 yards) -- but Thomas also had a fumble in the third quarter. Manning had a Super Bowl-record 34 completions for 280 yards, but he also had the two interceptions.


RUSHING OFFENSE


The Broncos rushed the ball only eight times in the first half for 19 yards -- 2.4 yards per carry. And down big in the second half, they had only six more rushes for 8 yards. So there weren't many opportunities, but Knowshon Moreno & Co. did next to nothing with the chances they were given.


PASSING DEFENSE


Russell Wilson didn't put up big numbers in the first half -- 9-of-14 for 94 yards. But the Seahawks were 4-of-6 on third downs, with Wilson throwing for a first down each time. Wilson didn't post big numbers in the second half, either. But he threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin. The Broncos didn't cover well and tackled even worse.


RUSHING DEFENSE


The Broncos did an outstanding job stopping Marshawn Lynch in the first half, limiting him to 17 yards on 11 carries. But wide receiver Percy Harvin had two running plays for 45 yards, including a 30-yarder on a jet sweep on Seattle's first drive of the game. Lynch finished with just 39 yards but did have a touchdown. With Lynch, Harvin, Wilson and Robert Turbin, the Seahawks had 29 carries for 135 yards (4.7 yards per carry).


SPECIAL TEAMS


The Seahawks led 22-0 at halftime, but Manning has engineered comebacks before. That hope evaporated as soon as Harvin took the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to make it 29-0. Harvin took the kick on a bounce, but the coverage and the tackling were terrible. Trindon Holliday wasn't very good on kick returns, either, averaging 21 yards on five returns.


COACHING


John Fox has to shoulder a healthy portion of the blame. As evidenced by the safety on the very first snap -- in fact, as evidenced by the entire first half -- the Broncos were off their game. He also made a bad instant-replay challenge in the first half and elected to punt in the third quarter with his team down 29-0, essentially waving the white flag.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It has been at least 13 years and probably more since a team dominated a Super Bowl the way the Seattle Seahawks did Sunday night at MetLife Stadium, winning 43-8 over the Denver Broncos. They scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams -- all after recording a safety on the first snap of the game. And they didn't give up any points until the end of the third quarter after building a 36-0 lead. The result is a report card that would be the envy of an Ivy League college applicant.

PASSING OFFENSE


It was as good as it had to be. Russell Wilson's passer rating was 123.1, eight different players caught his passes and he wasn't sacked or intercepted. Seattle raced out to a huge first-half lead, so Wilson didn't need to put up gaudy stats to win. But he was 4-of-5 for 64 yards on third-down plays in the first quarter, when the game was still in doubt, and he was still flinging it around in the fourth quarter as the Seahawks padded their lead.


RUSHING OFFENSE


Marshawn Lynch struggled to find room against Terrance Knighton and a Broncos defensive front focused on stopping the run. But Seattle's yards-per-carry average got a boost from Percy Harvin's 15-yard and 30-yard runs on jet sweep plays, and Lynch was able to muscle into the end zone on second down from the 1-yard line after a pass interference penalty in the end zone set up the game's first touchdown.


PASSING DEFENSE


Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning won his fifth MVP award for a season in which he threw a record 55 touchdown passes. But he was a mess all night against Seattle's pass rush, throwing two interceptions. Led by Cliff Avril, Seattle's line moved Manning off his spot all night and batted down some key passes while the big, physical defensive backs made life miserable for Broncos receivers before and after the catch. The "Legion of Boom" lived up to its name, outmuscling the top-scoring offense in NFL history.


RUSHING DEFENSE


Total domination. And yeah, the Broncos had to get away from the run because they were down 15-0 before they had a chance to run their offense. But Seattle's front bottled up Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, holding Denver to 27 yards rushing on 14 carries, forcing a fumble (that Denver recovered) and stripping the Broncos of any chance to maintain any level of balance on offense.


SPECIAL TEAMS


Harvin barely played all season. Finally healthy, he was a difference-maker in the biggest game of his career. Seattle's 22-0 halftime lead looked tough to overcome, but the 29-0 lead they had 12 seconds into the half after Harvin's 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown looked impossible. Seattle's kick coverage team held electric Denver return man Trindon Holliday in check.


COACHING


Give Pete Carroll the grade for the full year, as every move he made seemed to pay off. He had enough faith in his defense to let Manning start the game with the ball after he won the coin toss and to kick a first-quarter field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-short inside the Denver 10. He also stayed aggressive even as his team was rolling early, calling timeout on a Denver fourth-and-2 from the Seattle 19 with 1:06 left in the first half. Seattle didn't even try to move the ball in the final minute after stopping the Broncos and taking possession, but it showed a coach in control of the game. You also have to hand Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn the victory over Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase in the matchup of hot head-coaching candidates.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider