FROM A SEATTLE PERSPECTIVE: The game plan for Seattle was simple: do not commit turnovers, control where Peyton Manning can throw the ball, let their top ranked defense do their thing.
The Seahawks did it in spades. A domination from start to finish in a 43-8 win. Starting twelve seconds in with a safety on the bad snap by center Manny Ramirez, and on from there. Four forced fumbles (two of them recovered by the defense), two interceptions, and a day of pressure on Manning gave Seattle everything they needed.
While linebacker Malcolm Smith won the MVP for his day, which included a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown, the award could have easily gone to safety Kam Chancellor, who played his best game of the season. Chancellor tied for the team lead in tackles with 10, intercepted Manning off an overthrow forced by defensive end Michael Bennett, forced two fumbles and recovered a third.
Backed by a sensational outing by the defense, Russell Wilson and the offense only needed to not turn the ball over and capitalize on the Denver mistakes. Percy Harvin managed to make an impact in one of his few appearances on the field in an injury plagued first season with the Seahawks, and his return for a touchdown to start the second half deflated the Denver sideline.
Now Seattle has to consider which contracts to extend before the end of next season, when many of the top Seattle players will become free agents. For now, the Seahawks can rest happy with their first world title.
FROM A DENVER PERSPECTIVE: It honestly did not seem like Denver's day from the get-go. Peyton Manning always maintains a high level of communication with his offensive line, and especially his center. So when Ramirez snapped the ball well over Manning's head on the first play from scrimmage, it boded poorly for the Broncos.
It never got any better. Denver struggled with ball security and mental mistakes all game long. Cornerback Tony Carter's pass interference in the second quarter, which set up a 1-yard plunge from Marshawn Lynch, is a good example. All defensive backs are taught to keep their head turned around on jump balls in the end zone to dissuade pass interference flags. Carter kept his eyes locked on Golden Tate, and locked Tate's arm, drawing a costly flag.
When the game started getting out of reach in the second quarter, Manning started making risky plays and it cost him. On the pass that was picked off by Malcolm Smith, Manning tried to do too much and paid for it. An experienced quarterback like him needs to take the sack in that situation, since getting your arm hit is a worst case scenario. But Manning forced the throw, Cliff Avril caught his arm, and Smith did the rest.
When the second half started, the Broncos needed to change momentum. Instead, the kickoff gunners overran Harvin, letting him slice open the middle of the coverage, and allowing his speed to do the rest.
Now comes an offseason of wondering what to do now. Obviously having Von Miller back next season can only help the defense, but the Broncos may be stuck on the wrong end of the Super Bowl rainbow again.