The Seattle Seahawks were in control from the first moment of Super Bowl XLVIII, dominating it from the first snap to the last one in a vindicating moment for Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Percy Harvin and all those who prefer to see something of a smashmouth kind of style dominate and win championships.
Great defensive teams usually win Super Bowl games, and the Seahawks were the first to shut out their opponents for an entire half since the Baltimore Ravens, another defensive juggernaut, held the Giants to 0 points at halftime in Super Bowl XXXV. Scoring a safety after only 12 seconds in the game set the tone, and it stayed that way all through the evening.
They sacked Manning only once; he was able to get passes off, but they kept hurrying him. The Seahawks loaded the box with more defenders than blockers on a third of the snaps, and out of the four turnovers they forced on Denver three came with extra pressure coming from all sides.
Malcolm Smith won the MVP – a rare feat for a defensive player, but his touchdown interception return late in the second quarter was probably the most important score of the game. It’s hard to say that Denver got any momentum going, but if there was any kind of it, it got shot down at that moment, with the game becoming a 3-score margin instead of something a little bit closer.
Percy Harvin hasn’t played all season, but it seemed that every time he touched the ball something good happened. He caught only one pass for 5 yards, but he ran twice for 45 yards as the hand-offs to him completely offset the Broncos defense, and his kickoff return for a touchdown, going 87 yards before stopping, but the Seahawks 29-0. If there was any question on how the game was going to end at that point, they were over.
The only way we could say we were the best defense was to take down the best offense. We’ve been relentless all season. 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. “This is an amazing team. Took us four years to get to this point, but they never have taken a step sideways. These guys would not take anything but winning this ballgame.
The Seahawks rose along with the NFC West over the last few years, but leaped ahead of the San Francisco 49ers this season thanks to their home field advantage and a quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes. Russell Wilson finished with 18-of-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns – not superstar numbers, but efficient, smart and making the right play at the right time, always. He hardly felt any pressure and even when he did, he always found a way to create some space, rushing for 26 yards on 3 carries. He completed 12-of-14 passes when he had three receivers on the field.
No need for too much of a rushing game; the Seahawks kept throwing the ball and mixed things up, rushing the ball only 29 times, which isn’t too much for a team that entered the second half leading by three touchdowns. The Seahawks paid attention to their mistakes in the games against the Saints and the 49ers, not letting the Broncos a chance to breathe or think about coming back. It might have been a boring Super Bowl for the neutral fan, but an incredibly dominant performance from the first-time champions.