Peyton Manning couldn't withstand the pressure. The pressure of winning a Super Bowl in his brother's home stadium was the least of Manning's concerns. The Seahawks front four pressured Manning, hurried his passes and screwed with his internal timing. It was their M.O. last season and tonight was no different.
The Seahawks hardhitting defense forced four critical turnovers and took advantage of those premature changes in possession.
The game was tied for barely 15 seconds before Manning's center Manny Ramirez prematurely snapped the ball past Manning's head as he crept towards the offensive line to make one of his patented audibles. The ensuing safety recovered by Knowshon Moreno in the endzone was a harbinger of things to come.
Manning's final offensive play was nearly identical to his first. Manning dropped back, prepared to throw an irrelevant completion and was stripped from behind. It was the perfect capstone on a virtuous defensive performance.
Manning authored a Super Bowl record for completions and Demaryius Thomas set the mark for receptions. It was further proof that offense sets records, but defense wins championships.
In a twist, linebacker Malcolm Smith stole the Legion of Boom's thunder by winning Super Bowl MVP after returning a Manning interception for a touchdown and recovering a fumble. He was the first defensive recipient of Super Bowl MVP since Bucs cornerback Dexter Jackson after Super Bowl XXXVII.