Seahawks dominate for 22-0 Super Bowl half-time lead
Knowshon Moreno (C) of the Denver Broncos faces Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl 48 at MetLife stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on February 2, 2014 - by Timothy A. Clary
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was intercepted twice, including a 69-yard pickoff by Malcolm Smith that was returned for a touchdown, and the Broncos needed almost 20 minutes simply to manage a first down.
Smith's touchdown, which came with 3:21 to play in the second quarter to give Seattle its margin at the break, was the longest interception runback in a Super Bowl since Manning had a 74-yard pickoff returned for a touchdown by New Orleans defender Tracy Porter in 2010 to seal a loss for Manning's Indianapolis Colts.
Denver's offense set an NFL scoring record with 606 points and Manning set NFL one-season records for passing yardage and touchdowns in the regular season.
But Seattle had the NFL's top-rated defense this season, leading the league in fewest points allowed and takeaways, and it was that unit which dominated the first two quarters of the NFL's championship game.
Denver took the opening kickoff but it was Seattle that benefitted from the fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history.
Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning's head from the 14-yard line and into the end zone, where rusher Knowshon Moreno fell upon it and was tackled for a safety, giving the Seahawks a 2-0 lead.
Seattle also received the ball after a Denver kick and the Seahawks marched 51 yards in nine plays to set up Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal, giving Seattle a 5-0 edge only 4:39 into the contest.
The Seahawks scored again on their next possession, Hauschka connecting on a 33-yard field goal to make it 8-0 after a 13-play, 58-yard drive over 6:15.
Still without a first down and struggling offensively, the Broncos surrendered the game's first turnover on their next possession when Seattle safety Kam Chancellor intercepted a Manning pass at the Denver 39.
Seattle drove to the Denver 5 and on a crucial third-down play, Broncos cornerback Tony Carter was called for pass interference, putting the ball at the 1-yard line and setting up Marshawn Lynch's touchdown run from that distance two plays later that gave Seattle a 15-0 edge.
After Smith's touchdown, the Broncos' Trindon Holliday fumbled on the ensuing return and Seattle's Hauschka recovered, but a video replay appeal ruled he was down before the fumble, allowing Denver to keep the ball.
The Broncos drove to the Seahawks' 19-yard line but Seattle's Chris Clemons deflected a fourth-down pass by Manning to halt Denver's final drive of the first half.
The kickoff temperature of 49 degrees (9.4 Celsius) was 10 degrees warmer than the coldest-ever Super Bowl from 1972 in New Orleans, a far cry from fears of bitter cold and snow in the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold-weather city.