By John Boyle
Seahawks almost champions
Ok, you can go ahead and pop that bubbly now. I’ve got to sign off to head down to the locker room for postgame stuff, but the Seahawks are up 43-8 with just under 8 minutes left in the game. Go crazy, sports fans, you’ve waited long enough for this.
OK, now this is just getting ridiculous
Just when you think things couldn’t be going any better for the Seahawks, Percy Harvin returns the opening kick of the second half 87 yards for a score, because, well, of course.
So now it’s 29-0. Maybe not time to pop the champagne yet, but definitely time to consider putting it on ice.
Along those lines, the updates will come less frequently if the Broncos don’t make it interesting. I’ll still be tweeting plenty though, so follow along there if you’d like. And even if you’re not on twitter, you can still see what I’m posting by going to twitter.com/johnpboyle
Halftime, Seahawks lead 22-0
Plenty of people saw the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl, but I have hard time believing too many people, if they’re being honest, could have predicted 22-0 in the first half, but that’s what happened.
The Seahawks defense is simply put, handing out a butt-kicking. Oh, and Seattle gets the ball back to start the second half.
A few stats, Percy Harvin is actually Seattle’s leading rusher, gaining 45 yards on two carries. Doug Baldwin, meanwhile, was the leading receiver with 3 catches for 50 yards. Russell Wilson had an efficient if not great half, completing 9 of 14 passes for 94 yards.
The Seahawks outgained the Broncos 169-123, and had 9 first downs to Denver’s six, and most significantly, no turnovers to two Manning interceptions.
The most misleading stat of the half was the fact that Manning wasn’t sacked. Seattle’s pass rush may not have gotten home, so to speak, but they were in Manning’s face a ton, leading to both interceptions and a lot more incomplete passes and checkdown throws.
Malcolm Smith pick-6 makes it 22-0
More pressure on Manning—this time from Cliff Avril—led to another forced pass, and this one was intercepted by Malcolm Smith, who returned it 69 yards for a score.
The Seahawks appeared to have recovered a fumble on the ensuing kick, but that was overturned. If it hadn’t been, that play would have been the ultimate insult-to-injury play for Denver, as kicker Steven Hauschka was the man recovering the ball.
Oh, and a stat Manning doesn’t want to hear, that interception return for a touchdown was the longest in the Super Bowl since the pass Tracy Porter returned off of Manning to secure the Saints’ Super Bowl win four years ago.
Chancellor interception sets up Lynch TD
The Seahawks are doing just about everything right, and now have a 15-0 lead to show for it early in the second quarter. Kam Chancellor, who might be an early candidate for MVP award (OK, really early), intercepted a tipped Peyton Manning pass to give Seattle another short field.
Six plays and one legitimate pass interference penalty later, Marshawn Lynch was in the end zone to give the Seahawks a 15-0 lead.
That’s 15 points for Seattle and no first downs for Denver. But obviously this is a Denver offense capable of getting back in a game quickly.
Another FG makes it 8-0
A Broncos three-and-out gave the Seahawks the ball back quickly, and another big play—this one a 37-yard pass to Doug Baldwin—put them in scoring position. Again, the drive stalled out, this time because of a holding penalty, as well as a great individual play by Nate Irvin to break up a perfectly-thrown pass in the back of the end zone, so Hauschka came in for the FG.
Of note on Seattle’s first defensive possession. Kam Chancellor with a big message-sending type hit to limit a pass completion to a short gain, and also on third down, the Seahawks were able to affect Manning without hitting him, getting pressure that forced him to move, then settle for a checkdown.
Mariners, er, Seahawks, lead 5-0
I hope one of you out there put money on the “first score is a safety” prop bet, because that’s what happened when Peyton Manning watched the ball snapped past him when he wasn’t ready, and into the end zone on the first play from scrimmage. Omaha? More like Oh-no-maha, am I right? (feel free to boo me for that).
Following the safety, the Seahawks were quickly in Broncos territory thanks to a 30-yard Percy Harvin run (yup, he’s still fast) on a fly sweep.
The drive stalled when Seattle had to settle for a field goal after Russell Wilson came up just short on a third-down run.
Pregame and inactives
Here we go, kickoff is just an hour away. Both teams are on the field going through warmups, the Broncos in home orange uniforms and the Seahawks in white jerseys with blue pants.
Not much in the way of surprises for either team on the inactives. Denver DT Sione Fua is the only injury-driven scratch for either team, and the only change from what we’ve seen most of the year for Seattle is that third tight end Kellen Davis is inactive. There are two reasons for that, one, Seattle liked what it got using tackle Alvin Bailey as a sixth lineman/tight end in jumbo packages, which makes Davis less valuable, and two, a healthy Percy Harvin means somebody else is the odd man out. Also, as Carroll hinted at last week, it looks like the rotation at LG will remain in place, because Michael Bowie is again inactive for the second straight game after being a surprise starter against New Orleans.
Oh, that those weather concerns people have been talking about forever? Total non-issue. According to Weather.com, today’s high in East Rutherford was a balmy 56, and the low, which will come long after the game ends, will be 33. Not any wind to speak of as of yet either.
Seahawks inactives: WR Bryan Walters, RB Christine Michael, T Michael Bowie, T Caylin Hauptmann, TE Kellen Davis, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill.
Broncos inactives: QB Zac Dysert, RB Ronnie Hillman, CB Quentin Jammer, T Vinson Painter, G Chris Kuper, TE Joel Dreessen, DT Sione Fua.