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Safety Sets Tone in Big Game

February 3, 2014
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Just 12 seconds into the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos were already trailing after a bizarre, clumsy sequence. It set a record - and the tone for the game.

The Broncos' first play from scrimmage started out looking like any other for Denver. There was Peyton Manning barking out his calls, but before he could even finish, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball, which sailed past the unprepared quarterback and into the end zone. Knowshon Moreno fell on the ball to keep Seattle from scoring a touchdown, but it was still a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Seahawks.

That would grow to 36-0 before the Broncos finally scored on the last play of the third quarter in a 43-8 loss.

Article Photos

Denver’s Knowshon Moreno reaches for a loose ball after a bad snap early in the first quarter.

It was the fastest score in Super Bowl history. The previous record was 14 seconds on Devin Hester's return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown for the Bears in 2007 - also against Manning. That time, he soon led his Colts back into the lead, and Indianapolis beat Chicago 29-17. There was no such comeback Sunday.

This was the third straight Super Bowl with a safety.

Record in Defeate

It sounds like great news for the Broncos: Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas set Super Bowl offensive records.

But all those numbers did little against the Seahawks, most coming after Seattle was firmly in control.

Manning had 34 completions and Thomas 13 catches Sunday, both records. New England's Tom Brady (against Carolina in 2004) and New Orleans' Drew Brees (against Manning's Colts in 2010) each had completed 32 passes.

The previous receptions mark was 11, shared by Cincinnati's Dan Ross (1982 against the 49ers), San Francisco's Jerry Rice (1989 against the Bengals), and New England's Deion Branch (2005 against Philadelphia) and Wes Welker (2008 against the Giants).

Goodell Guest

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Super Bowl special guest got a chance to see his hometown team.

Zack Lystedt, whose head injury sparked a wave of youth concussion legislation across the country, was invited by Goodell to attend Sunday's game and watch the Seahawks play.

Lystedt, then 13, became the face of concussion awareness after he nearly died from a head injury suffered in a youth football game in 2006. Lystedt needed two emergency brain surgeries to survive.

The injury led to the Lystedt Law, first passed in the state of Washington in 2009 and copied nationwide. The Washington law keeps athletes high school age and younger from returning to the playing field without a doctor's authorization when a concussion is suspected.

Mississippi passed a youth concussion awareness law earlier this week. The National Sports Concussion Coalition said Mississippi was the last state without a youth-concussion law to set standards for medical evaluation and return to play.

Zack's father, Victor, said in a text message Sunday that the family had arrived for the game. Goodell first met Zack in October 2010 at a brain injury event in Washington state.

Key Play

The Broncos, so fortunate to be down only two scores, finally rediscovered their offensive rhythm and seemed on the verge of getting back in the Super Bowl.

Instead, it was the Seattle defense scoring, and the Seahawks pulling away.

Down 15-0 with more than 5 minutes left in the first half Sunday, Manning had driven Denver 52 yards to the Seattle 32. But on first down, offensive lineman Zane Beadles was penalized for tripping, and it got worse from there. On third-and-13, the Seahawks rushed four, but two linemen got to Manning.

Chris Clemons was about to slam into the quarterback from behind, but Cliff Avril had already reached him after beating tackle Orlando Franklin. Avril struck Mannings arm as he was releasing the ball, and it wobbled through the air.

Malcolm Smith was easily able to step in front of Knowshon Moreno for the interception. At 6-feet, 226 pounds, the linebacker outran the Broncos for a 69-yard return for a touchdown.

It was the longest since Tracy Porter's 74-yarder late in the fourth quarter four years ago to clinch the Super Bowl title for the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts. The quarterback he picked off? Manning.

This year's game was over much sooner.

Smith dunked the ball over the upright in celebration, and Seattle led 22-0 with 3:21 left in the half.

Manning could only shake his head on the sideline.

 
 

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