Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Broncos, Manning run into no-fly zone

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — All those records, all for naught.

Peyton Manning couldn't cap the greatest season any NFL quarterback ever had or secure his legacy as the best QB in history because his Broncos came down with a case of the yips on Sunday in the Super Bowl.

They lost to Seattle 43-8 by falling behind right from the start and never recovering.

The Broncos trailed before Manning ever got his hands on the ball because Manny Ramirez's bad snap went for a safety 12 seconds into the game.

"It was a crazy start," Manning said, "not the way you expect to start the game."

It only got worse for the league's most prolific point producers who scored 606 in the regular season, then dominated the AFC in the playoffs.

Sunday they mustered only Demaryius Thomas' 14-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the third quarter.

"We didn't play Broncos football," left tackle Chris Clark said. "When you got a good thing going, you want to finish it off and we didn't do that."

Manning won his fifth MVP award this season when he set records by throwing for 55 TDs and 5,447 yards. But he couldn't match that with the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history after falling behind 36-0.

"This is disappointing for our entire team," said Manning, who is now 1-2 in Super Bowls. "We worked hard to get to this part, overcame a lot of hurdles to get here. But certainly, to finish this way is very disappointing. It's not an easy pill to swallow, but eventually we have to."

This was easily Manning's worst day as a Bronco. Though he ended up throwing for 280 yards on 34-for-49 passing — a Super Bowl record for completions — by the time Manning threw that touchdown to Thomas, Seattle had built a 36-0 lead. Manning was sacked for the first time in the playoffs, threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, lost a fumble and turned it over on downs. He finished with a 73.5 rating as he led just one scoring drive.

"I don't know if you ever really get over it," Manning said. "You have to find a way to deal with it, and process it."

Manning's first interception came on a pass lobbed over the middle to Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor late in the first quarter. That set up a second-quarter touchdown to make it 15-0.

Manning's second interception came when his arm was hit by Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril on a throw. The pass went high in the air, and linebacker Malcolm Smith plucked the pass that Seahawks corner Richard Sherman would have called a "duck" and dashed 69 yards for a touchdown.

"We needed to play really well to win," Manning said after the game. "We didn't come close."

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