February 2, 2014 Updated: February 3, 2014 at 7:04 am
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - All that talk about a prolific offense and a stingy defense, it all proved to be true.
Just turns out that both belonged to Seattle.
From the first snap of the game, a miscue that resulted in a safety, Denver seemed fazed in all phases Sunday in a 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. It was Denver's Super Bowl-record fifth loss.
Denver's record-setting offense turned the ball over four times, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown from MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith. The special teams gave up an 87-yard kickoff return to open the second half, a death blow for a team already down 22 points.
The defense forced just one punt, when the score was already 29-0.
Both halves saw Seattle score points in just 12 seconds. It was a series of quick, decisive blows that brought the Seahawks their first championship.
"It didn't surprise me," Broncos coach John Fox said. "I thought they were very good, very fast and well-coached."
The game surprised most everyone else, particularly in just how great the disparity proved to be in a game the Broncos entered as 2.5-point favorites. That Denver offense, which set an NFL record by scoring 606 points in the regular season, didn't gain a first down until 20 minutes into the game and didn't score points until the game was already out of reach.
"I hope we etched our names in the history books," Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said. "This is the No. 1 defense in the history of the NFL and we were able to play a good game against them."
Peyton Manning completed a Super Bowl-record 34 passes (out of 49) for 280 yards and a touchdown, but he was intercepted twice and finished with a 73.5 rating as he led just one scoring drive.
"We needed to play really well in order to win, and we didn't come anywhere close to that," Manning said. "We weren't sharp offensively from the very get-go."
The Broncos never established a running game - gaining just 27 yards on 14 carries - but part of that was a lack of opportunities as the turnovers and ineffectiveness limited the squad to just six first-half first downs against the league's top defense.
All that the Broncos had been throughout the season, the Seahawks were on the game's biggest stage. Four players scored touchdowns and the NFC champions showed ferocity unmatched by their AFC counterparts.
Quarterback Russell Wilson posted a rating of 123.1, throwing for 206 yards, two touchdowns and guiding a turnover-less effort.
"For everybody that said we were mediocre, not the main dish, check it out," receiver Golden Tate said of Seattle's offense. "Eat your words, because we ball."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll jumped to Seattle after directing a dynasty at Southern Cal. He has long been credited for orchestrating a suffocating defense, but his first NFL title was clearly indicative of something far greater. He did it with 21 undrafted players and a Super Bowl MVP in Smith who wasn't even invited to the combine.
"It's just the way we play," Carroll said. "It was a really good game for our guys on all sides, not just defensively. I'm proud of this entire team."