The Super Bowl is just 4 days away. Let’s look at the Super Bowl from 4 years ago to honor this not that significant occasion!
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey hosted Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. The game pitted the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks and their top-ranked defense against the Denver Broncos and their #1-ranked offense of the American Football Conference. It was the immovable object against the irresistible force! But, as we will read, the matchup turned one-sided early and the rout was on.
Seattle Seahawks 4 Years Ago
The Seahawks came off a dramatic loss in Atlanta to end the 2012 season. Their rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led a desperate comeback as they actually took the lead with less than a minute remaining only to see the Falcons kick a long field goal to eliminate them. The Seahawks and the 49ers were the two favorites in the NFC in 2013 and they battled all season for that all-important NFC west title. In week 2, the Seahawks made a statement by clobbering San Francisco in a nationally televised game. On offense, the Seahawks rode the powerful legs of Marshawn “Beast mode” Lynch.
On defense, the Seahawks fielded a great squad with Pro Bowlers all over the place. Their “Legion of Boom” defense featured three phenomenal players on the back end in Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. Sherman was as brash a player the NFL had seen in quite some time, but he really could back it with superb corner play. In the week 2 win over the Niners, Sherman celebrated with the cheerleaders to the roar of the Seahawks’ crowd known as the “12th man.”
Seattle finished the 2013 regular season at 13-3 just ahead of the 49ers. That meant the Niners had to start on the road in the Wild Card round at Green Bay. In five-degree temps, Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore led the Niners back to a thrilling win over the Pack. In the divisional round, San Fran won at Carolina and Seattle held off New Orleans setting up the NFC championship game everybody wanted. It did not disappoint.
Seahawks vs. 49ers
Wilson fumbled on the very first play of the game setting up a San Francisco field goal. Early in the second quarter, Kaepernick ran one for 58 yards setting up a touchdown. Seattle responded with a field goal drive and a third quarter touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s 40-yard scamper set the home crowd into a frenzy. To their credit, the 49ers came right back with Kaepernick hitting Anquan Boldin for a 26-yard score and a 17-10 lead. Again, the Seahawks answered with a field goal.
The fourth quarter got off to an awesome start for the Seahawks when Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse for a go-ahead touchdown. You could cut the tension in the fourth quarter with a knife. Seattle forced a Kaepernick fumble and had a golden opportunity to put the game out of reach. They reached the 1-yard line when NaVorro Bowman forced a Kearse fumble. Seattle was given the recovery, but Bowman was lost for the game with a terrible ACL injury. On the very next play, Wilson fumbled, and the 49ers were still alive.
Seattle added one more field goal for a 23-17. Kaepernick drove the Niners into Seattle’s territory with less than one minute to play. However, Kaepernick threw to Michael Crabtree in double coverage. Sherman made a great defensive play knocking the ball back to Malcolm Smith for a game-clinching interception. Sherman spouted off to Fox’s Erin Andrews about the way the 49ers and particularly Crabtree disrespected him. Whatever the case was, Seattle qualified for their second Super Bowl.
Denver Broncos 4 Years Ago
The Denver Broncos made an early season statement as well. They annihilated the World Champion Ravens on opening night. Peyton Manning threw for a ridiculous 7 touchdowns. The offensive record book was about to be revised courtesy of Manning, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and a group of receivers including Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas. When it was all said and done, the Broncos broke league records for points scored, yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns.
They followed their 49-27 win over Baltimore with a 41-23 victory for Peyton over Eli in New York. In week 4, they scored 52 against the Eagles, then 51 in a comeback win over the Cowboys. However, the Broncos were not perfect. They had a lackluster season on defense. That was on display in their 39-33 loss in Peyton’s return to Indianapolis. The Patriots stunned the Broncos in the game of the season 34-31 in overtime. The Broncos blew a 24-0 halftime lead that night. Late in the season, Denver lost at home to San Diego on a Thursday night.
Nevertheless, Denver earned the top seed. In the playoffs, they survived a gutty effort by the Chargers in a rematch. In the AFC championship game, the Broncos were never threatened in a 26-16 win over the Patriots. Peyton passed for 400 yards in one of the least compelling Brady-Manning matchups. John Fox’s Broncos qualified for the franchise’s seventh Super Bowl.
Like many of their previous appearances, this was a nightmare for Denver. They were out of their usual extraordinary rhythm from the outset causing their own safety on the game’s first play. Seattle poured it on to the tune of a 15-0 lead late in the second quarter. The game got completely out of hand when Smith picked off Manning and ran it back for a touchdown. Then, Percy Harvin ran back the second half kickoff. It was 29-0 with 29 minutes to go. The rest of the game was a coronation.
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks won the Super Bowl almost effortlessly. It is hard to put this defensive performance into perspective. Denver averaged 38 points per game during the regular season. They finished on the tail end of a 43-8 score in the Super Bowl. Therefore, Seattle’s defense does not have to take a back seat to anybody in league history.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss their shocking loss in Super Bowl XLIX.
Brandon Fazzolari is a Super Bowl expert…@spot_Bills