6:25 PM ET, February 2, 2014
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Seahawks' Defense Comes Up Big
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Waiting to get their hands on the Lombardi Trophy, the Seattle Seahawks were surrounded by security guards in orange jackets. It was the first time anyone in that color stopped them all night.
The Seahawks stayed true to their mantra to make each day a championship day. They made Super Bowl Sunday the best day of all with one of the greatest performances in an NFL title game -- sparked by a defense that ranks among the best ever.
More from ESPN.com
Peyton Manning might be one of the best QBs in NFL history, but he was no match for the Seattle Seahawks' defense in Super Bowl XLVIII, Terry Blount writes. Blog
Russell Wilson already is a Super Bowl champion QB. And the possibilities for Wilson at this moment in time are dizzying, Dan Graziano writes. Blog
Seahawks linebacker and newly-minted MVP Malcolm Smith stood out on a big night for Seattle's championship defense, Greg Garber writes. Story
He didn't win the MVP award, but after a season of injuries, Percy Harvin provided pivotal playmaking in the Seahawks' win over the Broncos, Jeffri Chadiha writes. Story
The Broncos started the Super Bowl by snapping the ball over Peyton Manning's head. From there, it only got worse. But the Broncos made no excuses for the loss, Jeff Legwold writes. Blog
Peyton Manning won't wallow after the Broncos' lopsided Super Bowl beatdown, but the missed opportunity to enhance his legacy still stings, Ashley Fox writes. Story
• Clayton: Seahawks' old school win
• O'Connor: Mannings at MetLife
• Cimini: Carroll: From castoff to champ
• Merrill: Chancellor's hit sets the tone
• SN: Super Bowl a dud? | Twitter talk
• Stats & Info: How Seahawks won
• Offseason needs: Seattle | Denver
• Sando: Can Seattle build dynasty?
• Super Bowl in photos
• Super Bowl Central
The Seahawks won their first Super Bowl crown by punishing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8. That masterful defense, the NFL's stingiest, never let the five-time MVP get going, disarming the highest-scoring offense in league history.
"The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense," linebacker Bobby Wagner said.
Seattle (16-3) was too quick, too physical and just too good for Denver. What was hyped as a classic matchup between an unstoppable offense and a miserly defense turned into a rout.
"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."
"I always imagined myself making great plays," said Smith, the game's MVP. "Never thought about being the MVP."
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 secondary, part of a young team with an average age of 26 years, 138 days.
"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 is 11-12 in the postseason, 1-2 in Super Bowls. After the game, he brushed off questions about his legacy.
"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."
He never looked comfortable against a defense 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.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman left with a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter. He celebrated on crutches.
"I hope we etched our names in the history books," Sherman said.
Wilson, who has an NFL-record 28 wins in his first two pro seasons, including 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 D dominated.
"It's all about making history," All-Pro safety Earl Thomas said. "This was a dominant performance from top to bottom."
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports
Pete Carroll gets the Gatorade bath from Russell Wilson in the closing moments of the Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVIII win.
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.
The victory was particularly sweet for Carroll, fired in 1994 by the Jets. He led the Patriots for three seasons and again was canned. After a short stint out of coaching, he took over at the University of Southern California and won two national titles.
But he always felt there was unfinished business in the NFL. Carroll finished that business by lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy, four years after taking charge in Seattle and eight years after the Seahawks lost in their only previous Super Bowl to Pittsburgh.
No Super Bowl had been played outdoors in a cold-weather city -- not that the Big Apple was anything close to frozen Sunday, when it was 49 degrees at kickoff.
Things went sour for Manning and the Broncos from the very first scrimmage play, and by halftime they were down 22-0 -- their biggest deficit of the season and the only time they didn't score in a half.
On that first play, Manning stepped up toward the line just as center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball. It flew past his incredulous quarterback into the end zone, where Knowshon Moreno dived on it for a safety.
Russell Wilson became the first QB to pass for at least 200 yards, 2 TDs and complete 70 percent of his passes in a Super Bowl win without being named MVP.
|*Won Super Bowl MVP|
--ESPN Stats & Information
A mere 12 seconds in, Seattle led 2-0 with the quickest score in Super Bowl history, beating Chicago's Devin Hester's kickoff return to open the 2007 game -- against Manning's Colts.
That one ended much better for Manning as Indianapolis won the championship. This one was a fiasco throughout.
Steven Hauschka made 31- and 33-yard field goals for an 8-0 lead. 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. A third-down pass interference call on Tony Carter brought Seattle to the 1, and Marshawn Lynch scored to make it 15-0.
Then Smith made his second huge play in two weeks. His interception clinched the NFC championship win over San Francisco.
Cliff Avril got to Manning's arm as he was throwing, the ball fluttered directly to Smith, who took off down the left sideline for a 69-yard interception TD.
Manning trudged to the sideline, a look of disgust on his face, Denver's reputation as an unstoppable force erased.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan (R) talks with Howie Long...(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.2||4.8|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-4||1-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||2||0|
|SF||14:53||Knowshon Moreno Fumble Recovery In Own End Zone|
Drive info: 1 plays, -14 yds, 0:12
|FG||10:25||Steven Hauschka 31 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 9 plays, 51 yds, 4:27
|FG||2:21||Steven Hauschka 33 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 13 plays, 58 yds, 6:15
|TD||12:08||Marshawn Lynch 1 Yard Run (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 37 yds, 3:59
|TD||3:36||Malcolm Smith 69 Yard Interception Return (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 49 yds, 8:39
|TD||15:00||Percy Harvin 87 Yard Kickoff Return (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 0 plays, 0 yds, 0:12
|TD||3:11||Jermaine Kearse 23 Yard Pass From Russell Wilson (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 58 yds, 2:57
|TD||0:03||Demaryius Thomas 14 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Peyton Manning Pass to Wes Welker For Two-Point Conversion is Go)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 2:58
|TD||11:55||Doug Baldwin 10 Yard Pass From Russell Wilson (Steven Hauschka Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 48 yds, 3:15
Peyton Manning's 10 pass yards in 1st quarter are his fewest in 1st quarter since Week 8 2007 vs Panthers.
Broncos are first team shut out at halftime in Super Bowl since the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV - trailed Ravens 10-0 and lost 34-7
From Elias: The Seahawks scored a safety 12 seconds into the game, the fastest score at the start of a Super Bowl.[+]
Fastest Score to Start Game - Super Bowl History
Peyton Manning faced the blitz on just 12 percent of his dropbacks in the Super Bowl, the 3rd-lowest percentage he's faced with the Broncos... He's had success when opponents sat back over that span, but not last night.[+]
Lowest Pct of Dropbacks Facing 5+ Pass Rushers - Peyton Manning with Broncos
The Seahawks forced the Broncos into their worst offensive efficiency performance of the season. The Broncos' offense contributed -21.6 points to their net scoring margin, their first game this season with a negative offensive efficiency. They entered the Super Bowl as the only team without such a game this season. The +21.6 points was the Seahawks' 2nd-best defensive efficiency this season, behind their shutout win against Eli Manning and the Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 15 (+24.3). It was the best by any team in a playoff game since 2009 Wild Card (Ravens +23.1 against Patriots). The Seahawks' defense finished the season with the highest defensive efficiency in the NFL, contributing 7.2 points per game to their net scoring margin (next closest team: Bengals, 4.7). Of those plays, 6.3 per game were on passing plays (+14.3 vs Broncos Sunday).[+]
Highest Defensive Efficiency on Pass Plays This Season (Inc. Postseason)
The Broncos' 1st play from scrimmage, a safety, resulted in a 4.7-point hit to the team's offensive efficiency. After Peyton's pick-6 with 3:36 left in the 2nd quarter, the Broncos win probability dropped to 3.5%. It would never get above 5.0% the rest of the game. They ran 41 offensive plays with a win probability below 5.0%. They ran 19 such plays the rest of the season combined.
Peyton Manning's 24.4 Total QBR was his lowest in a game this season and the worst in a Super Bowl since the Bears' Rex Grossman in 2006 (7.1). Russell Wilson posted a 88.1 Total QBR, the 2nd-highest in the Super Bowl since 2006 (Joe Flacco had a 93.4 last year), and it snapped Wilson's streak of 6 games with a Total QBR of less than 50.0.[+]
Total QBR This Postseason
Peyton Manning's 24.4 Total QBR was his lowest in a game this season, and the worst in the Super Bowl since Rex Grossman in 2006 (7.1). Russell Wilson posted a 88.1 Total QBR, the 2nd-highest in the Super Bowl since 2006 (Flacco 93.4), and it snapped Wilson's streak of 6 straight games with a Total QBR under 50.0.[+]
Peyton Manning Passing This Season (Inc. Playoffs)
Peyton Manning completed 4 of his 11 pass attempts more than 10 yards downfield (36%), tied for his lowest completion percentage on such passes this season (including playoffs).
The Broncos failed to get a first down on their first three possessions Sunday. In their first two postseason games, they didn't pick up a first down on one of their 16 drives.
The Broncos have allowed 206 points and scored only 58 in the franchise's 5 Super Bowl losses. Denver has scored 10 or fewer points in four Super Bowls, and the Broncos are now on the wrong side of three of the five largest Super Bowl blowouts in history.
Peyton Manning's 24.4 Total QBR was his lowest in a game this season, and the worst in the Super Bowl since Rex Grossman in 2006 (7.1) Russell Wilson posted a 88.1 Total QBR, the 2nd-highest in the Super Bowl since 2006 (Flacco 93.4), and it snapped Wilson's streak of 6 straight games with a Total QBR under 50.0.[+]
Total QBR This Postseason
The Broncos gained 122 yards after the catch on 34 catches (3.6 YAC per reception). Denver's 3.6 YAC per reception average was the third-lowest for the Broncos in a game this season, and was a half-yard lower than Seattle's league-leading season average allowed (4.1).
- Russell Wilson was not sacked in Super Bowl XLVIII and was put under duress on 19 percent of his dropbacks (5-of-27), his second lowest pressure percentage of the season. Including playoffs, Wilson was pressured on an NFL-high 32 percent of dropbacks entering the game. Wilson was sacked 19 times in his previous five games. - The lack of pressure allowed Wilson to make big throws from the pocket. Wilson was 14-of-18 for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns in Super Bowl XLVIII.[+]
Russell Wilson Best Comp Pct Inside Pocket, This Season (Including Playoffs)
The Broncos tried to work the middle of the field Sunday and while it led to a lot of completions, the gains were minimal. Manning attempted 40-of-49 passes in between the painted field numbers Sunday (6.0 yards per attempt), his third-lowest average of the season. Manning attempted a season-low 9 passes outside the numbers.[+]
Peyton Manning Passing Between the Field Numbers, This Season (Including Playoffs)
Malcolm Smith played only half of the Seahawks' 64 defensive snaps in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos averaged nearly a yard less per play when Smith was on field in the game. 11 different Seahawks played more defensive snaps than Smith in Super Bowl XLVIII. Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell were the only two Seahawks defenders to play every defensive snap in the game.[+]
Seahawks Defense in Super Bowl XLVIII - Malcolm Smith On/Off Field
Demaryius Thomas was the most effective Broncos' target, catching 40% of Peyton Manning's completions and his only touchdown. Manning's average throw distance was 4 yards longer targeting Thomas than all other Broncos.[+]
Peyton Manning Passing by Target, Super Bowl
The Broncos allowed Russell Wilson to complete 12-of-14 passes (86%) when the Seahawks had at least three wide receivers on the field, the highest completion percentage the Broncos have allowed against that personnel grouping this season.[+]
Broncos Defense Against 3+ Wide Receivers, This Season (Including Playoffs)
Knowshon Moreno had zero rushing yards after contact. Entering the Super Bowl, he averaged 22.5 yards after contact per game this season.
The Broncos have faced the three largest halftime deficits in Super Bowl history[+]
Largest Halftime Leads - Super Bowl History -
- Malcolm Smith is the ninth defensive player to be named Super Bowl MVP. Smith is the first player in Super Bowl history to have a fumble recovery and interception return for touchdown in the same game. Smith has four interceptions in his last five games (0 in first 44). - Malcolm Smith played 6 or fewer snaps in 5 games this season, not including Week 3 when he was inactive. Smith played only 34.5% of the Seahawks' defensive snaps from Weeks 1-13. Smith played 83.9% of the Seahawks' snaps from Week 14 to the NFC Championship. (Super Bowl data not available)[+]
The Broncos gained 46 yards after contact on 48 combined rushes and completed passes in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Broncos had only one game with fewer yards after contact this season (43 in Week 6 vs Jaguars).
- Percy Harvin had an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown and three offensive touches totaling 50 yards in Super Bowl XLVIII. Harvin had 58 return yards and 47 yards from scrimmage in his previous two games with the Seahawks.[+]
Percy Harvin Yards Gained with Seahawks
The Seahawks loaded the tackle box with more defenders than blockers on 20 of 64 plays (31.3 percent) against the Broncos, the most pre-snap pressure the Broncos have seen in a game this season. The loaded box set the tone early resulting in a botched Broncos snap for a safety on the first play. The Seahawks also showed extra pressure before three Broncos turnovers including MVP Malcolm Smith's interception return for a touchdown.[+]
Broncos Offense vs Seahawks Loaded Box, Super Bowl
The Broncos entered the Super Bowl with the highest scoring offense in NFL history, but their Super Bowl performance was one of the worst in recent seasons. Peyton Manning's Total QBR was the worst by a QB in the Super Bowl since Rex Grossman in 2006 (7.1).[+]
This is the 4th time the Broncos have faced a halftime deficit in the Super Bowl. They lost the previous 3.[+]
Halftime Deficits Faced By Broncos - Super Bowl All-Time
1st quarter offense: Seahawks 148 yards, Broncos 11. 148 is the most yards the Seahawks had in a game this season. Denver's previous 1st-quarter low was 59 in Week 1 vs Baltimore. The Broncos were outgained by 137 yards, easily their worst 1st-quarter yardage margin of the season (-79, Week 13 vs Chiefs). Peyton Manning's 10 yards are his fewest in the 1st quarter since Week 8 2007 vs Panthers
When the Seahawks have 3+ receivers on the field, Russell Wilson is 12-14 for 148 yards and 2 TD.
Malcolm Smith (SEA): first player in Super Bowl history with an interception return TD and a fumble recovery in the same game.
Super Bowl XLVIII will be the first time since 1990 that the number one scoring defense will try to slow down the number one scoring offense. In Super Bowl XXV, the Giants limited Jim Kelly and the Bills K-Gun offense to 19 points, winning 20-19. That Giants defense and this year's Seahawks defense have similar if not identical stats.[+]
1990 Giants Defense vs 2013 Seahawks Defense
Including the postseason, the Broncos lead the NFL in receiving yards and touchdowns on screen passes, while averaging 8.3 yards per catch on such plays (3rd in NFL). Demaryius Thomas averaged 14.6 yards per catch on screen passes (best among WR - min. 5 rec) The Seahawks are allowing 3.2 yards per attempt on screen passes this season, the lowest average in the NFL.
Peyton Manning has a Total QBR of 89.9 in two postseason games during the 2013 playoffs, the second highest for any quarterback leading up to the Super Bowl since QBR became available in 2006.[+]
The Broncos failed to convert a 1st down on either of their 1st 2 drives. They had 16 drives, 1 without a 1st down entering the game this postseason
The Seahawks have averaged just 148 Pass YPG in the postseason, the fewest for a team to make the Super Bowl since the 2000 Ravens. Surpisingly, they're the 6th team to reach the Super Bowl with fewer than 200 Pass YPG in the postseason, and 3 of the previous 5 won the Super Bowl.[+]
Fewer Than 200 Pass YPG in Postseason - Heading into Super Bowl Since 2000
Peyton Manning is 1-of-4 for 19 yards and an interception on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield. His average air yards are 6.3 per attempt, 3.0 per completion.
Total QBR only goes back to 2006, but Peyton Manning's performance by that metric in the Super Bowl was by far the worst of his postseason career in the "QBR era".[+]
Peyton Manning Lowest Postseason QBR - Since 2006
After the Lynch TD, Denver trails 15-0. The Broncos had 12 plays when trailing by at least 15 points this season. Every other team except Detroit (18) had at least twice as many.
Peyton Manning posted a Total QBR of 79.5 on throws within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage this season (including playoffs), the highest in the NFL and fourth highest in a single season since 2009. The Seahawks have been the best team at defending such passes this season, allowing a league-low Total QBR of 31.1 (including playoffs).[+]
Passing Within 10 Yds of Line of Scrimmage This Season (Including Playoffs)
Manning's 1st quarter interception was the Seahawks 44th takeaway this season including playoffs, most in NFL. It was their 31st interception, also most in the NFL.
After his 2nd quarter touchdown, Marshawn Lynch has 12 rushing yards today. He also has 12 yards after contact, making his average point of contact the line of scrimmage.
Manning targeted Julius Thomas on his first-quarter interception. Seahawks D allowed the lowest QBR targeting tight ends this season including the playoffs (58.6).
According to Elias: The Seahawks are the 2nd team to score an offensive TD, defensive TD and a special teams TD before their opponent scored any kind of TD in a playoff game. Only other time: Super Bowl XVIII, Raiders defeated Redskins 38-9. The Raiders had a blocked punt return, a pass TD, then an Int TD. Washington kicked a FG in the midst of that but did not score a TD until later in the game.
Today's safety was the fastest score in Super Bowl history (12 seconds). This is the third-straight year with a safety in the Super Bowl. This was the 9th safety in Super Bowl history.
NFL referee Terry McAulay is leading an All-Star 7-man crew into Super Bowl XLVIII that has a combined 110 seasons of NFL officiating experience. But while officials have called just 7 defensive pass interference penalties in 10 playoff games, the Seahawks and Broncos were among the league leaders in both defensive pass interference and defensive holding penalties during the regular season.[+]
Most Defensive Pass Interference Penalties - NFL This Season
Percy Harvin is expected to play in Super Bowl XLVIII after missing the NFC Championship game with a concussion. Will it be worth it? Bernard Pollard and Rob Gronkowski each played through their own injuries in the previous 2 Super Bowls, but neither made significant contributions. Wes Welker has 76 receiving yards in 2 postseason games after missing the final 3 games of the season with a concussion.[+]
From Elias: Each of the last 8 Super Bowl champions has played the Patriots at some point in their Super Bowl-winning season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Patriots' 8-year streak of having played the eventual Super Bowl champion is tied for the longest in NFL history with the 1989-96 Eagles and the 1968-75 Bills. New England's streak doesn't go back further in part because the Patriots themselves won the Super Bowl following the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Moreover, each of the last 7 Super Bowl champions have also faced the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins in the regular season, which means each of those teams is tied for the 4th-longest streak of seasons playing the eventual Super Bowl champion. The Broncos played the NFC East this season, beating the Eagles in Week 4, the Cowboys in Week 5, and the Redskins in Week 8. They lost to the Patriots in Week 12 but avenged the defeat with a victory over New England in the AFC Championship Game. The Seahawks did not face any of those 4 teams in the regular season or playoffs.[+]
Most Consecutive Seasons Having Played Eventual Super Bowl Champion - Including Playoffs, Super Bowl Era
The game was essentially out of reach after halftime but Russell Wilson had one of his better second halves of the year. For the first time this season, he threw two passing touchdowns in the second half and had his second-highest QBR and completion percentage as he completed 9-of-11 passes.[+]
Russell Wilson 2nd Half of Super Bowl
Peyton Manning has a Total QBR of 89.6 when throwing outside the right field numbers on passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage this season. That will be Richard Sherman's territory in Super Bowl XLVIII; Sherman has lined up on the offense's right for 98 percent of his snaps this season.[+]
Denver hasn't been shut out in the first half since Week 6 of 2012. Manning's Broncos scored 35 second-half points in a Monday Night win against the Chargers.
Percy Harvin: 30-yard rush: his longest play from scrimmage this season. FROM ELIAS: Harvin's 30-yard rush was the 2nd-longest by a WR in Super Bowl history (Alvin Garrett: 44 yds Super Bowl XVII)
Broncos opponents averaged 12.9 drives per game during the regular season (2nd-most in NFL)... Entering the Super Bowl, their opponents have averaged just 8.5 drives per game during the postseason (2nd-fewest in NFL).
ESPN Stats & Information
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- NFL Nation
- MN HQ
- Free agents