UPDATED 2/2/14, 10:58 P.M.: The Seahawks started on the right foot 12 seconds into the game.
On the first offensive play, a bad Broncos snap settled near the back of the end zone, where it was downed for a safety.
From there, things only got better for Seattle. The Seahawks defense more than lived up to its lofty reputation in bringing the city its first NFL championship with a 43-8 victory yesterday at Super Bowl XLVIII.
It’s the city’s first title in one of the four major sports since the SuperSonics won an NBA crown in 1979.
"It's a true blessing," Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told Fox's Pam Oliver following the victory.
The Seahawks’ defense and return teams accounted for 16 points and four forced turnovers in all, holding the historic Denver offense scoreless through the first 45 minutes of the game. A Peyton Manning pass to Demaryius Thomas finally got the Broncos on the scoreboard, narrowly avoiding the first shutout in Super Bowl history. Denver also was held to just 27 rushing yards on 14 carries.
The Seahawks were as cool and calm as the Broncos were sloppy. Despite having no players on the roster who had previously appeared in a Super Bowl, Seattle never turned the ball over.
Manning capped the best season by a quarterback in NFL history with an uneven performance. He finished 34-49 for 280 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He did, however manage to set a Super Bowl record for most pass completions.
The loss dropped Manning's record in the NFL's championship game to 1-2.
While the Seattle defense was all-around impressive, linebacker Malcolm Smith, who was named Super Bowl MVP, stood out. He became the first player to return an interception for a touchdown and also recover a fumble in Super Bowl history, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
"The defense was relentless," Wilson told Oliver.
Wilson played under far less pressure and posted an efficient stat line: 18-25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. More telling, though, was that his team punted only once.
"This is an amazing team. ... We take this trophy back to the 12th man," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the trophy presentation, referring to the team's famously-loud fans in Seattle.
With the victory, Carroll became the third coach to win a Super Bowl and an NCAA championship.
After the safety that put the Seahawks ahead 2-0, Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka added two first-quarter field goals. Denver managed just 11 total yards of offense in the first quarter. And then it got worse for the Broncos.
A 1-yard run by Marshawn Lynch gave Seattle a 15-0 lead with 12 minutes to go in the half. When it looked like the Broncos' offense was snapping out of its stupor, Manning threw his second interception of the game as he was hit on a throw. The ball found its way into Smith's hands, and the linebacker brought it back 69 yards to put the Seahawks up 22-0.
Denver drove to the Seattle 19 before halftime, but couldn't convert on fourth and 2, entering the half with no points to show for their efforts.
If the Broncos found renewed energy from the halftime performance by Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it didn't show on the ensuing kickoff. The Seahawks' Percy Harvin, who appeared in just one regular season and one postseason game due to injuries, returned the kick 87 yards to make it 29-0.
"As soon as I caught the ball, it was open field," Harvin said after the game.
The damage was done by that point, but Seattle continued its dominance by adding a 23-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse that made it 36-0.
Denver finally got on the board on the final play of the third quarter, when Manning connected with Thomas. Manning then hooked up with wide receiver Wes Welker for the two-point conversion. That was the last time the Broncos put any points on the board.
Seattle found the end zone one more time with 11:48 to go in the game on a 10-yard strike from Wilson to wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
Seattle outgained the AFC champs, 341-306, and did so on nine less plays.