Six Key Game-Changing Plays From Super Bowl XLVIII
By Andre Khatchaturian
BU News Service
The Seattle Seahawks steamrolled over the Denver Broncos on Super Sunday to bring home their first Lombardi Trophy. The game was decided fairly early as the Seahawks took a 22-0 lead to halftime. There were several key plays – small and big – that changed the complexion of the game:
1) The Safety:
The Denver Broncos started the game in a nightmarish fashion. Center Manny Ramirez’s snap went through Peyton Manning’s hands and landed in the end zone. The Broncos landed on the loose ball but it didn’t matter. Twelve seconds into the game it was already 2-0 Seahawks and they were getting the ball back. The momentum immediately shifted to Seattle’s side and they never looked back after that play.
2) Percy Harvin’s 30-yard end around:
Right after the safety, the Seahawks went with a running play to Marshawn Lynch that didn’t produce much. The Broncos’ rush defense had been pretty strong coming into the game after shutting down both San Diego and New England in previous weeks. On the very next play, the Seahawks reached into their bag of tricks and pulled an end around to Percy Harvin, who was playing in only his third game because of injury, and he took the ball for a 30-yard gain. The drive would result in a field goal and more importantly it kept the momentum on the Seahawks’ side. It also introduced Harvin into the game – a player the Broncos didn’t have much film on because of the fact he rarely played. Harvin would produce another 15-yard run later in the quarter and received consideration for the MVP award.
3) Broncos’ first three-and-out:
After the Seahawks tacked on a field goal to make it 5-0, the Broncos finally got the ball back. This would be the ideal time to erase any momentum that had gone to the Seahawks’ side right? Wrong. Manning made two completions on the drive but failed to register a first down. In fact, the Broncos failed to convert a first down until the second quarter. Needless to say, the three-and-out gave the Seahawks the ball back but most importantly it sent a message that the Legion of Boom is the real deal and that Peyton and company weren’t going to have an easy time moving the ball.
4) Kam Chancellor’s Interception:
If the three-and-out sent a message, then Kam Chancellor’s interception put the exclamation point on the Seahawks’ formidable defense. On a 3rd and 7 from the Denver zone, Manning threw an interception to Chancellor which deflated the Broncos. Their biggest weapon had been solved twice and it was still the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were able to move the ball downfield and punch in their first touchdown of the game on a short Marshawn Lynch run.
5) Malcolm Smith’s MVP Play:
Aided by a strong pass rush which got a hand on Peyton’s throw, Malcolm Smith was able to capitalize on a rare wobbly throw from Manning. Smith intercepted the ball and sprinted to the end zone to give the Seahawks a 22-0 lead. By that point, a comeback was extremely unlikely because of the wide margin. When people look back to Super Bowl XLVIII, they will likely remember Smith’s rumble to the end zone.
6) Mercy, There Goes Percy:
After Bruno Mars’ electrifying halftime show performance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Percy Harvin provided more explosions at the start of the second half. The game was still within striking distance and with Peyton Manning under center for the Broncos, there was no doubt that the Broncos could’ve easily came back. However, Harvin made sure none of that would happen as he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards to give Seattle a 29-0 lead they would not relinquish. After that touchdown, Seahawks fans probably felt comfortable with their lead for good. Not even Manning’s excellence would lead the Broncos back into the game. The game essentially entered garbage time for the last 30 minutes of the game and the Seahawks were later crowned Super Bowl champions.