The Seahawks won the coin toss and deferred, which turned out to be a wise decision, as the Broncos’ first snap went over Peyton Manning’s head into the end zone, making sure the YEAR OF THE SAFETY was well represented in Super Bowl XLVIII.
On the second offensive snap for the Seahawks, a handoff to Percy Harvin went for 30 yards, representing more than the Broncos got in the entire first quarter. A Jermaine Kearse reception gained 12 yards on a 3rd and 9 to get inside the 20. Two plays later, Russell Wilson scrambled to get a first down but was ruled just short. Pete Carroll challenged but the initial ruling was upheld. Rather than attempt a 4th and less 1, Carroll elected to kick a field goal to move the lead to the always interesting score of 5-0.
The Broncos went three and out on a Moreno run followed by two short completions. The Seahawks got two sharp third down conversions to start the following drive. They got inside the 10 but some questionable playcalling had them needing another long third down conversion. Wilson appeared to have Kearse in the end zone, but Kyle Irving made a great breakup just as Kearse was trying to secure the catch.
It would have been a huge play to inexplicably keep the Broncos within one score and perhaps swing the game back to Denver, but then Peyton threw a terrible pick on the next drive to Kam Chancellor. The first quarter ended with Seattle having the ball more than 11 minutes while the Broncos didn’t get a first down.
Marshawn Lynch, who had been well contained through one quarter (possibly the Broncos’ lone triumph), ended the next Seahawks drive with the first touchdown of the game to make it 15-0.
Denver finally showed signs of life on offense, getting their first first down of the game and driving the ball into Seattle territory. But then Peyton needed another Super Bowl pick-six and Malcolm Smith was happy to oblige.
Now it’s 22-0 and things are looking incredibly bleak for the Broncos. They nearly got that much worse when it looked like Denver fumbled the ensuing kick return. The refs ruled he was down, but it didn’t matter much, as the Broncos turned the ball over on downs just as they were in position to finally put points on the board.