SUPER BOWL: The Seattle Seahawks produced one of the most dominant performances in Super Bowl history as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos were neutralised in a 43-8 humbling.
Ahead of a mouth-watering clash, much focus was on Manning - who was this weekend voted the NFL’s MVP for the fifth time in his career having led the most prolific offence of all time this year.
But, after being gifted a safety on the first play for the quickest ever Super Bowl score, the anticipated ‘contest’ quickly became a blow-out as Seattle controlled proceedings throughout.
Their defence, in particular, was outstanding, cementing its reputation as one of the best since the league’s inception and helping inflict serious damage to the legacy of Denver’s quarterback. Manning threw two interceptions - one of which was taken back to the house by Malcolm Smith - and is now 1-2 in Super Bowls.
By contrast, opposite number Russell Wilson excelled in completing 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, amid Percy Harvin putting on an electric all-purpose show with 137 total yards and a score.
As a result, Wilson became only the fourth quarterback - following in the footsteps of Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger - to win the NFL’s biggest prize within his first two years.
The MetLife Stadium crowd witnessed the most dramatic beginning imaginable.
With Seattle having elected to defer, and the crowd expecting the first act of Manning’s much-anticipated match-up with Seattle’s stellar defence, the quarterback fatally miscommunicated with centre Manny Ramirez.
The latter released the snap with Manning making alterations at the line and the ball flew into the end zone for a safety, putting the Seahawks 2-0 up in 12 seconds.
Seattle were afforded an immediate opportunity to add to their opponents’ misery as they got the ball back. But, following a 30-yard run from the dynamic Percy Harvin, they eventually settled for three points, Steven Hauschka splitting the posts from 31 yards after Pete Carroll opted not to go for it on fourth and one.
Denver’s second possession was only marginally better, a three-and-out despite two Manning completions.
Seattle, though, were to have no such issues as Wilson clicked into gear, his looping pass to Doug Baldwin down the sideline gaining 37 yards and setting up a chip-shot field goal.
Still only down a score, Denver needed some momentum; however, it never came as an untypical Manning floated a pass and Kam Chancellor grabbed an interception.
And Seattle - with the help of another explosive Harvin run, plus a pass-interference penalty - this time took full advantage with Lynch getting in from a yard.
The nightmare continued as Manning, having finally picked up some first downs, threw another pick, Smith taking it back for six after Seattle’s pass rush had forced an errant pass.
Even the extra 15 minutes afforded by the half-time show was not enough for Denver to sufficiently regroup, Harvin taking the opening kick-off of the second period back for a touchdown.
Despite the Broncos attempting to stop a return with a short kick, he wiggled his way past all-comers to pile further misery on John Fox’s side.
After a couple of nondescript possessions, another chapter was added to the Denver Horror Show when Demaryius Thomas fumbled at the 20-yard line, Byron Maxwell forcing the mistake that Smith jumped upon.
That misstep was quickly converted into seven points as Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse, who shrugged off two dreadful tackle attempts and broke the plain.
Denver avoided the ignominy of being the first team to be shut out in a Super Bowl as Manning hit Thomas for a touchdown, successfully going for two as Wes Welker made a grab.
However, Wilson snuffed out faint comeback hopes by driving down the field and hitting Baldwin for a touchdown.
That was to prove the last score as, despite Manning setting a record for the most completions in a season finale with 34, Denver’s humbling was completed.