This game is not how the Denver Broncos wanted it to start. Seattle won the toss and deferred to the second half as the Broncos would take possession. On the very first play of the game, Peyton Manning tried to get the center to snap it but went to the line to address them. Center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball as Peyton was walking towards them, causing the ball to fly into the end zone as Knowshon Moreno covered it for the safety putting the Seattle Seahawks up by the score of 2-0.
The Seattle Seahawks would start by trying to run at the Denver defense and tricked them with a reverse to wide-out Percy Harvin who took it 30 yards for the first down. Quarterback Russell Wilson showed a bit of nerves as he had tight-end Heath Miller open in the flats but overthrew the big target. Seattle would marsh down the field as Wilson completed a key 3rd and 9 pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse for the first down. He would strike with the wide-out yet again on the next play for a gain of 12.
Russell Wilson dropped back on a 3rd and 6 and took the ball himself for a gain of 5 with his legs as head coach Pete Carroll challenged the spot on the field, thinking his quarterback got to the line. The play stood as called as kicker Steven Hauschka would knock down the 31-yard field goal to put the Seahawks up 5-0 on a drive that lasted 9 plays, 51-yards and 4:27, keeping the Denver Broncos off of the field.
Denver would look to get on the scoreboard on this second drive but couldn’t get anything going. Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas across the middle of the field and safety Kam Chancellor hit him hard with what looked to be helmet-to-helmet; no penalty. Manning would hit Julius Thomas on a 3rd and 5 play for just 3 yards as they were forced to punt.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks would keep on pushing Denver down the field as he completed a huge 3rd and 8 pass to Golden Tate for the first down. Wilson would convert another 3rd down as he found Doug Baldwin across the middle for a gain of 6. Seattle would try a flea-flicker but Denver didn’t bite as they swarmed the quarterback who then threw it away. They found a hole in Denver’s defense on a deep ball to Doug Baldwin setting them up with the first and goal.
Seattle would be called for holding setting them back farther on the play. On 3rd and goal, Wilson would find Kearse in the back of the end zone but couldn’t come down with the ball as Nate Irving deflected it away, setting up a 33-yard attempt by Steven Hauschka that was up and good to put the Seahawks up 8-0. Denver would set up shop as Manning hit Wes Welker for the first time across the middle for five yards. Knowshon Moreno took the 2nd and 5 hand-off to the left side then fumbled it and was luckily recovered by Denver. On 3rd and 7 however, Manning dropped back to pass and felt pressure as he overthrew Julius Thomas ending up with a Kam Chancellor interception.
Seattle would start their series with another reverse to Percy Harvin who took it to the left side for the first down and a gain of 14. The end of the first quarter concluded Seattle took the 8-0 lead as the Denver offense struggled. The Seahawks found themselves on the doorstep of the end zone as a 3rd and 4 pass to Golden Tate was incomplete but their was a flag on the play. Tony Carter would be called for defensive pass interference setting up the automatic first down. Seattle would capitalize as Marshawn Lynch capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown drive for the 15-0 lead.
Denver started to find their rhythm on the offensive end as Manning found Demaryius on the screen pass for a gain of 6 and Moreno would take the 3rd and 1 rush up the middle for their first, first-down of the game. On Denver’s next third down, Manning hit Demaryius for another screen that he just got enough for the first. Later on in the drive, Seattle’s defense kept pressuring Manning, hitting his arm as the ball fluttered in the air right to Malcolm Smith for the pick-six. Seattle took the 22-0 lead with their second take-away of the game.
As things couldn’t get worse for the Denver Broncos, kick-returner Trindon Holliday took a kick up the middle that he appeared to fumble. The booth would review the play since it was ruled a turnover and they said he was down by contact at the 33 yard line. On their ensuing drive, Manning would convert a key 3rd and 5 pass to Demaryius Thomas for the first-down. Manning would strike with tight-end Julius Thomas as Denver completed yet another first down as the two-minute warning was among them.
Manning dropped back to pass on the ensuing play as he overthrew Julius Thomas. The surprising thing is there was no penalty on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas who clearly interfered with Thomas’s progress. The Broncos would suffer a set-back on 3rd and 4 as offensive lineman Louis Vasquez would be called for the false-start as they faced a long 3rd and 9. Manning would hit Moreno for 7 yards as they looked to go for it on 4th and 2. Manning’s pass would be tipped by Chris Clemons as the pass fell incomplete as Denver turned it over on downs. Seattle would run out the clock sending it into halftime up 22-0.