By Larry Fine
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks and their ferocious defense dominated a frazzled Denver Broncos team, shutting down the NFL's leading offense to claim a 22-0 lead by intermission of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Seattle took charge immediately when on the Broncos' first play from their 14-yard line following the opening kickoff, the snap sailed over quarterback Peyton Manning's head and running back Knowshon Moreno recovered it in the end zone and was tackled for a safety that gave Seattle a 2-0 lead.
The score came 12 seconds into the game, the quickest tally ever in a Super Bowl.
Seattle took the ensuing punt from the Broncos on their own 36-yard line and on the second play, Percy Harvin took a handoff on an end around and dashed 30 yards.
The drive continued to the Denver 13 where Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson's scramble left him one yard short of a first down and the Seahawks settled for a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka that made it 5-0.
A three-and-out by Denver forced another punt, and Seattle took over on their 32. Wilson used his scrambling skills to keep the drive alive on a third-down play and then floated a perfect pass down the left sideline to Doug Baldwin for a 37-yard gain and a first-and-goal from the six.
A penalty pushed the Seahawks back and Hauschka booted a 33-yard field goal for an 8-0 lead in the first quarter.
Seattle outgained Denver 148 yards to 11 in the quarter.
Two defensive plays by the top-ranked Seattle defense turned into touchdowns in the second quarter.
An overthrown pass by Manning was intercepted by Kam Chancellor and Marshawn Lynch eventually bulled over from the one for a touchdown that made it 15-0.
Pass-rushing defensive end Cliff Avril hit Manning's arm on a throwing attempt and the ball floated into the middle of the field where linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted it and ran 69 yards for a touchdown and a 22-0 lead.
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry)