Broncos' season soured by blowout

By: The Associated Press
February 4, 2014 Updated: February 4, 2014 at 9:41 pm
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Broncos safety Mike Adams reacts after the Seahawks score a touchdown in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)

DENVER - Terrance Knighton summed it up for so many Broncos fans when he sat stone-faced after Seattle's 43-8 drubbing of Denver in the Super Bowl and said, "It doesn't feel real. It almost feels like a nightmare." Following an otherwise spectacular season that ended in such stunning fashion, here is a look at some of the best and worst moments for the Broncos:

Best game: AFC championship. The Broncos dominated the New England Patriots 26-16 in what turned out to be the crowning achievement of a record-shattering season that came up short.

Worst game: Super Bowl. Peyton Manning had never played as poorly in the two years since joining the Broncos.

Best play: Manning throwing a nifty touchdown pass at Houston to tight end Julius Thomas that broke Tom Brady's record of 50 set in 2007. He'd finish with 55 TD throws to go with a record 5,447 yards passing, surpassing Drew Brees' mark by a yard.

Worst play: Manny Ramirez's snap over Manning's head to start the Super Bowl that Knowshon Moreno smothered in the end zone for a safety. "Nobody's fault," Manning said. "It was just a noise issue."

Biggest surprise: Denver's self-destruction in the Super Bowl after such a stellar season in which the Broncos averaged 37.9 points. They trailed by more than that at halftime against Seattle, then the Seahawks needed just 12 seconds to score again in the second half on Percy Harvin's 87-yard TD return when one of Matt Prater's patented touchbacks - he had a league-best 93 of them, including 12 in the playoffs - would have been the best way to keep the ball out of Harvin's hands.

Biggest disappointment: Failing to win a third Lombardi Trophy.

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