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Why and how Denver lost the big game

Marcus Henry | 2/6/2014, 3:02 a.m.
Peyton Manning Photo by Bill Moore

There’s no deep philosophical way to explain how the Denver Broncos got trounced 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

The Broncos are all about execution. Peyton Manning is all about execution. When Manning isn’t in rhythm, the Broncos’ offense isn’t in rhythm.

The Broncos’ rhythm was thrown off on their first play when center Manny Ramirez’s snap sailed over Manning’s head, causing a safety. It was all downhill for the Broncos from that point.

“Momentum is important in sports,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “We gave them a little of momentum with the first snap.”

There isn’t much more that can be said of the game. The speedy, aggressive, physical and talented defense of Seattle overcame Denver’s offense. It proves defenses can still win championships in today’s pass-happy NFL.

The three-step drop offense Denver used to torch teams all season didn’t work against Seattle. The Seahawks’ defensive backs were in the face of Denver’s wide receivers all game. That brand of defense flies right in the face of what Denver likes to do. And the Broncos didn’t, or couldn’t, adjust.

“We knew they were an excellent defense … early on, it was what we expected,” Manning said. “They executed better than we did.”

Manning completed a Super Bowl-record 34 passes, but he only finished with 280 yards. It was a game comprised of dinks and dunks and not a lot of yards after the catch for Denver.

Credit the press coverage from Seattle’s defensive backs, who weren’t afraid to take chances and lay down the big hits. In the end, the Broncos paid the price for breezing through a weak AFC.

Seattle’s great defense notwithstanding, the Broncos were uncharacteristically sloppy. The bad snap, two interceptions by Manning and a fumble by Demaryius Thomas dashed any hopes the Broncos had of a third Super Bowl trophy for the franchise.

Said Fox, “When you’re minus three in the turnover margin against a team like the Seattle Seahawks, this is sometimes what you’ll get.”