The NFC champions Seattle Seahawks met the AFC Championship Denver Broncos in SuperBowl XLVIII in New Jersey on Sunday in front of a sellout crowd of over 83,000 and over 1 billion people watching on television - but it didn't appear the pressure of the occasion affected the youthful Seahawks.
Whereas the same thing can not be said for the experienced Denver Broncos who struggled from the very outset giving up a safety on the very first play from scrimmage when centre Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Peyton Manning's head before the 37 year old had finished calling the play.
Things went from bad to worse for the Broncos offence as Manning threw an interception to the all pro hard hitting safety Kam Chancellor whilst already trailing 8-0 in the first quarter.
The Broncos offence took almost a quarter to record their first first down of the game and turned the ball over four times including the 69 yard pick six recorded by outside Linebacker Malcom Smith who received the legendary Lamar Hunt trophy as the game's MVP which sparked controversy in it's own right.
Manning's offensive line has done a terrific job keeping the veteran protected and giving him time to throw to his talented receivers from the pocket all season but on Sunday night they were terribly disrupted and discomforted by the Seahawks pass rush led by defensive ends Chris Clemons and Chris Avril. Avril in particular led to hurrying Manning and knocking his arm causing both of the NFL MVP's interceptions.
Although the Seahawks are known for their secondary nicknamed the "Legion Of Boom" led by the assertive all pro Stanford graduate Richard Sherman, but it was their all around defensive domination which gave them the comprehensive win taking the Lombardi trophy to Seattle for the first ever time.
Arguably the only positive stat recorded by the Broncos all night was Manning's 34 completions, but most of these came when the Seahawks were already up multiple scores in the second half and playing conservative defense.
Whilst the Seahawks defense recorded both hard hitting headlines and hard hitting plays on the field, containing the game's MVP, the Seahawks offence looked far from overwhelmed as 2nd year Quarterback Russell Wilson overcame the early SuperBowl nerves to throw 18/25 for 205 yards and two touchdowns credited to receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, Kearse's touchdown play in particular was impressive as the 2nd year pro spun his way out of several attempted tackles before finding the endzone.
It was certainly a superb team performance all around from the Seahawks as they cruised to a Superbowl victory on Sunday proving the old saying of "Defense Wins Championships" to be true as they shut out the record setting Broncos the entire first half, a feat that all other teams have failed to do this season
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