EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Seahawks had made a lot of offenses look average, but this offense?
These Denver Broncos weren’t just the NFL’s best throughout this season. They were the best ever, with 606 points in the regular season (a 37.9 average) and 76 touchdowns. They were explosive and efficient.
So what happened Sunday?
The combination, they said, was pretty clear in the 43-8 blowout at MetLife Stadium: a bad start, four turnovers and a pretty darn good defense on the other side of the ball.
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“There is a reason they were the No. 1 team in defense,” said coach John Fox of Seattle.
Eights points were by far the fewest scored by this year’s Broncos (the previous low came in a 27-20 loss to San Diego). It was the lowest output of any team in a Super Bowl since 2001 (when Baltimore beat Tampa Bay, 34-7).
Denver was the 12th team in Super Bowl history to be shut out at halftime — those teams going 0-12.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” said John Elway, executive vice president of football operations. “You’ve got to get in the end zone.”
The Broncos’ first play over 20 yards didn’t come until midway through the third quarter, and that play, a catch by leading receiver Demaryius Thomas, resulted in a lost fumble.
In the end, Fox said suffering the third-worst margin of defeat in Super Bowl history didn’t have any extra significance. Only one team ends the season happy.
“I feel real bad for our fans, our owner and everyone who has followed the Broncos,” he added. “All these fans who made the trip out here, I’m disappointed for them, too.”
Perhaps the ultimate dream, playing a Super Bowl in your home state, became reality for four Broncos on Sunday.
No more was that a story last week than with Denver safety Mike Adams, who vowed after the AFC Championship Game that he would walk directly to Paterson, N.J., where he was born, if his team won.
Estimated distance from MetLife Stadium: 9.4 miles. Estimated walking time: two and a half hours.
No surprise he pulled back on the promise closer to kickoff (not that it was ever in danger once the game started).
Home wasn’t so sweet against the Seahawks, but being able to celebrate with a community, along with family and friends, added special memories to an already special Super Bowl buildup for Adams, running back Knowshon Moreno (born in Belford), linebacker Shaun Phillips (went to high school in Willingboro) and defensive end Robert Ayers (born in Jersey City).
The Broncos became the first NFL franchise to lose five Super Bowls with Sunday’s defeat. Minnesota, Buffalo and New England have each lost four.
Thomas caught a Super Bowl-record 13 passes Sunday, including his team’s lone score, a 14-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter. The previous record was 11 catches, held by four players including Thomas’ current teammate Wes Welker (then with New England).
Manning’s 34 completions were also a high mark in a Super Bowl, besting the 32 set by New England’s Tom Brady and New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
• Fox became the sixth coach in NFL history in lead two teams in a Super Bowl, joining Mike Holmgren (Green Bay, Seattle), Dick Vermeil (Philadelphia, St. Louis), Dan Reeves (Denver, Atlanta), Bill Parcells (New York Giants, New England) and Don Shula (Baltimore Colts, Miami).
• The Broncos hold the three largest halftime deficits in Super Bowls (25 points to Washington in Super Bowl II, a 42-10 loss; 24 points to San Francisco in Super Bowl XXIV, a 55-10 loss; 22 points to Seattle on Sunday).
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.