The Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning couldn’t be contained for an entire game, but despite the impressive comeback to force an overtime during the fourth quarter, the Seattle Seahawks came through with the 20-17 win as Russell Wilson led them on a perfect drive and deny the opponents revenge for what happened in the Super Bowl.
For almost three quarters, Denver couldn’t get anything against the usually stout Seahawks defense, with Manning once again struggling under pressure and finding open men and good looks against the best secondary in football. The Seahawks didn’t look brilliant on offense, but kept chipping away at a tiring Broncos defense, creating separation in the second quarter with two touchdown passes from Wilson, who continues to outplay the best quarterbacks in the league as long as he’s playing at home.
With Manning and his three running backs (Ball, Hillman and Anderson) struggling to get anything going, it was down to a defense that was upgraded during the offseason to try and save the day. The Seahawks entered the fourth quarter with a 17-3 lead, but pretty quickly things started falling apart for them. It began even earlier as Steven Hauschka missed a 46-yard field goal, giving the Broncos some hope they’d be able to patch things up.
It began with a safety on Seattle’s first drive in the fourth quarter. DeMarcus Ware came up with a huge sack on Russell Wilson and later Marshawn Lynch was stuffed before being able to get out of the end zone. The Broncos began their most important drive of the game, with suddenly, for the first time, having momentum on their side while it looked like the Seahawks weren’t exactly prepared for that turn of events.
The Broncos kept running the same plays, mostly getting the ball to Emmanuel Sanders (149 yards, 11 receptions) and Wes Welker (6 receptions, 60 yards), but that ‘most important’ drive ended in a punt. However, the Seahawks turned the ball over on the first play coming out of the huddle, Chris Harris intercepting a pass. With just 19 yards to work around, Manning ended up using a shovel pass to Julius Thomas, finally getting Denver to score a touchdown.
The Seahawks were stopped on the next play, giving the Broncos a chance to take the lead. They managed to get to the Seahawks’ 24, but Manning made the wrong decision with a bad pass to Wes Welker instead of a wide open Sanders, resulting in a Kim Chancellor interception, which later turned into a Hauschka field goal, giving the Seahawks a 20-12 lead with 59 seconds left in the game.
But the Seahawks confident defense was rattled. It took Manning just 49 seconds with completions to Sanders and Demaryius Thomas to get close, before striking goal and hitting Jacob Tamme in the end zone, followed by a successful 2-point conversion. The Seahawks look rattled going into overtime, dropping a 14 point lead in one quarter, no longer looking unbeatable on defense.
But then came Wilson’s big moment. An 80 yard drive without making a single mistake. Every pass went into the right hands. Every time he rushed around the corner, there was no one to stop him. It felt like if the Seahawks had needed 200 yards on that drive, Wilson would have got them for his team. It ended with a Marshawn Lynch touchdown, his second of the game, as Peyton Manning didn’t even get a chance to try and tie it for his team.