EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – At least longtime Denver Broncos fans are used to disastrous first halves in Super Bowls.
The biggest halftime margin in Super Bowl history was 25 points, the lead Washington had on Denver in Super Bowl XXII. There was a 24-point halftime lead in a Super Bowl too, in Super Bowl XXIV when the 49ers took a 27-3 lead against ... Denver.
So yeah, the 22-0 deficit at halftime against Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII was nothing, right Broncos fans?
The difference is the Broncos surely didn't expect this game to be a first-half blowout. The Seahawks just made it so.
Denver was swarmed by Seattle's defense the entire first half. At one point Denver had 11 yards and Seattle had 15 points. The Broncos didn't get their initial first down until about 19:30 into the game. A 69-yard interception return by Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith made the score 22-0, something nobody expected. It all started on the first play from scrimmage. Center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball when Peyton Manning was walking up to the line to change the play, a mistake that resulted in a safety.
Denver, feeling the need to make up points, went for it on fourth-and-2 despite being in field-goal range late in the second quarter. Peyton Manning's pass was tipped at the line and incomplete, and the Seahawks took over on downs with 1:01 left in the second quarter.
Manning was not very good in the first half. He completed 17-of-23 passes but for only 104 yards. He threw two interception. The Broncos didn't score, the first team to get shut out in the first half since the Ravens kept the Giants off the scoreboard 13 years ago. ESPN said it was the first time a team quarterbacked by Manning failed to get a first down in the first quarter since 2005. It was a shockingly bad performance by an offense that set NFL records for points and touchdowns this regular season.
Thankfully for the Broncos, the Seahawks played it safe and didn't try to extend their lead before the half. So at least the Broncos didn't break the Super Bowl record for first-half futility. That mark still belongs to another Broncos team.
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