The Seattle Seahawks brought Peyton Manning's record-breaking season to an ignominious end in northern New Jersey Sunday night, routing the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the most lopsided Super Bowl in 21 years.
Sad Manning Faces were in abundance as the NFL's best defense turned in a punishing performance, holding the Broncos offense, which set an NFL regular-season record by scoring 606 points, scoreless through the game's first 44:57. The Broncos avoided the humiliation of being the first team to suffer a Super Bowl shutout as Manning ended a six-play, 80-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas with three seconds left in the third quarter.
The Seahawks got a solid and mistake-free evening from Russell Wilson — 18-of-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns — who became the first black quarterback to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory since Doug Williams did it with Washington in 1988. Percy Harvin ended his injury-plagued season with a triumphant flourish, starting the second half with an 87-yard kickoff return.
The NFL's first Super Bowl in its largest media market was a flop, with Manning and Co. unable to hold up their end of the bargain in a matchup of the league's best offense and defense. There hadn't been a beating of this kind in the championship since Dallas drubbed Buffalo 52-17 in 1993.
On the first play of the game, Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning’s head and out the back of the end zone for a safety. It appeared to be a miscommunication, as Manning briefly stepped out of position to right as Ramirez sent the ball flying past him. Believe it or not, it wasn't the first time Super Bowl scoring started with a safety: Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding in his own end zone on the Pats' first offensive snap two years ago.