Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse #15 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a 23 yard touchdown. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Gerry Ahern, USA TODAY Sports
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Defense wins championships.
Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin do too.
The Seattle Seahawks' Legion of Boom frustrated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos while Wilson managed the game plan with aplomb in a dominating 43-8 Super Bowl XLVIII victory Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
"It's not too crazy to us, because we knew what we had in our locker room," Harvin said. "We knew how we prepared and we knew what we were capable of."
The Seahawks limited the Broncos to 306 yards and intercepted Manning (34-for-49 passing, 280 yards, lost fumble) two times, claiming the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
"Sea-HAWKS," chanted the rowdy Seattle fans, who have become known as the "12th Man."
Wilson, meanwhile, stayed within himself, avoiding turnovers. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards, ran for 26 yards and threw second-half touchdown passes to Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin to set the final score.
"At the end of the season, you want to play your best football. And that's what we did tonight," Wilson said.
When Harvin returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and a 29-0 lead, the lights were out in Jersey.
Manning, who won his fifth regular-season Most Valuable Player award on Saturday night, had another Super stumble, falling to 1-2 in title games. He was intercepted by Kam Chancellor with 59 seconds left in the first quarter, setting the Seahawks up at the Denver 37. Seven plays later Marshawn Lynch blasted over from the 1-yard line to make it 15-0 Seattle three minutes into the second quarter.
Denver (15-4) didn't gain a first down until 10:32 of the second quarter. When they finally seemed to be getting untracked offensively, boom went the dynamite.
A crushing hit by Cliff Avril allowed Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith to pick off Manning and race 69 yards for a touchdown, making it 22-0 Seahawks at 3:16 of the second quarter.
"I always imagined myself making great plays. Never thought about being the MVP," Smith said.
Things went sideways for Manning and the Broncos in a hurry. An errant shotgun snap from Manny Ramirez sailed past Manning's head on the game's first play from scrimmage at the Denver 14.
"To finish this way was disappointing," Manning said. "It's a difficult pill to swallow."
Knowshon Moreno was tackled in the end zone giving the Seahawks a safety and a 2-0 lead 12 seconds in. It was the quickest score in Super Bowl history.
The Seahawks (16-3) marched 51 yards on nine plays on the ensuing possession before the drive stalled. Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal made it 5-0 at 10:21 of the first.
Seattle went up 8-0 about eight minutes later, Hauschka hitting a 33-yard field goal.
The Broncos, boasting the league's best offense during the regular season, ended the shutout bid by scoring on the final play of the third quarter, Manning finding Demaryius Thomas for a 14-yard TD.
Weather wasn't an issue in the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold weather venue. Temperature at kickoff was 48 degrees.
Super Bowl XLVIII marked the fifth time a team allowing fewest points faced off against a team scoring the most points. The defensive team has won all five NFL championship games.