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But in fairness to Franklin and Clark, the game quickly developed into a situation where Seattle's defensive ends didn't have to worry about the run. They could just take off from a track stance and sprint toward Manning as Seattle built its lead. In contrast, the Broncos' front four had to hold their containment after Harvin took off on two early end around plays for long gains.
"It's so much more fun to watch Fox when it's someone else being blitzed sacked!" tweeted Hillary Clinton.
Then the game kicked off and the most stark contrast was in attitude. From the moment Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball past Manning on the game's first play from scrimmage, the Seahawks' defense became a jaw jacking, free wheeling, relentless unit.
It's why the Broncos don't believe they got bullied, as it appeared to others. Asked if the Super Bowl was a physical mismatch, Broncos coach John Fox credited the Seahawks but concluded, "They executed better than we did."
How can the same two teams produce such contrasting results? The game's flow, a bad bounce, is why every week the NFL has at least one blowout and an upset. The bad snap from Ramirez immediately allowed the Seahawks to play free and loose. And it seemingly caused the Broncos to tighten up.
"Don't you ever say you want one on one with us," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman yelled derisively at Broncos slot receiver Vans For Men
In the buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII, the difference between the Broncos and Seattle Seahawks was well hyped.
"In any ballgame, you try to set a tone," said Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker. "All game long, you saw them coming and trying to hit you pretty hard."
No man admits to getting physically walloped. They'll concede to getting outplayed, but not being intimidated.
"Good God," Russell Wilson, the Seahawks' ridiculously poised 25 year old quarterback, said as captured by the NFL's Sound FX video. "They're jumping routes BOOM!"
The Seahawks led 8 0 after the first quarter, 22 0 at the half and 36 0 with Vans Khaki
Early in the Super Bowl, on the first pass Manning attempted, Chancellor made a tone setting blast on Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
seconds left in the third quarter before settling for a 43 8 thrashing. And it wasn't that close. Seattle scored on a gimme safety 12 seconds into the game, and Percy Harvin completed his 87 yard kickoff return for a touchdown 12 seconds into the second half.
The secondary squatted on the Broncos' short routes, which Manning uses to set up the longer patterns. When the short routes weren't there, Manning had to hold on to the ball a tick longer than he felt comfortable, which allowed the Seahawks' front four to overpower the Broncos' blocking five.
Sherman then came in to taunt Welker, who jogged off without a word. Sound FX then caught Manning getting on Welker for not making the catch. Perhaps Manning couldn't see from his collapsing pocket how fast Chancellor closed on the play. Poor Welker. He got chewed out twice for a play he had no chance of making.
Said Broncos guard Zane Beadles: "Taking nothing away from Seattle, because they were a great team and they played a phenomenal game (but) we didn't execute and we didn't perform the way that we're capable of. That's not fun. That stings."
Remember, in December 2012, the Broncos dominated the Ravens in Baltimore, going up 31 3 in the fourth quarter. And the Broncos crushed the Ravens again in September of 2013, winning 49 27. But in a game in between, Baltimore defeated the Broncos 38 35 in double overtime in a January 2013 playoff game.
Monday night monologue.
Asked if the Seahawks hit harder than any other opponent he's faced, Decker said: "One thing they have is speed through Skechers New Design the defense. I think all defenses hit pretty hard. It's just connecting on them."
In particular, the Seahawks' rotating set of four defensive ends Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, Michael Bennett and Red Bryant was able to work over Denver offensive tackles Orlando Franklin and Chris Clark.
Wes Welker. "Don't you ever say that!"
The Broncos' offense, meanwhile, played timidly.
"I would say from their front four to their back four, they were all physical," Decker said.
Poor, devoted Broncos followers. After all that fun watching their team succeed in getting to the Super Bowl, the Broncos are now a national punch line.
Want to play well? Play free and loose. Want to play bad? Tighten up.
"In fact the team was so ineffective today they were invited to join the Obama administration," Jay Leno cracked during a near two minute series of Broncos jokes to open his Skechers Go Walk Memory Foam
Peyton Manning throws under pressure to Julius Thomas during the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII, but the pass was intercepted by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)
A different start might have produced, if not a different outcome, at least a more competitive game.
Welker had just run open on a crossing route in the third quarter. By the time Manning's pass arrived, Seattle safety Kam Chancellor came off his deep coverage to blow up the play.
That's not to say the physical mismatch was restricted to Seahawks defensive backs against the Broncos' receivers, however.
Super Bowl quickly became battle of attitudes for Broncos
The Legion of Boom is what Seattle calls its secondary.
No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense. Peyton Manning's passing precision vs. Marshawn Lynch's "Beast Mode." Old vs. young.
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