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FIRST QUARTER

Oh, Snap

Super Bowl history was made early Sunday in MetLife Stadium. Denver center Manny Ramirez launched the first snap of the game over the head of Peyton Manning and into the end zone. The ball was recovered by Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, resulting in a safety for the Seattle Seahawks just 12 seconds into the game.

That broke the record for the fastest points scored in a Super Bowl. The previous record had been 14 seconds set in Super Bowl XLI, when Chicago’s Devin Hester took the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

Denver’s Trindon Holliday brought the opening kickoff out from 6 yards deep. He only made it to the 14-yard line, firing up the Seahawks’ fans in the crowd. The botched snap occurred while Manning was attempting to communicate with his line.

Key playS: On the Seahawks’ second offensive play, receiver Percy Harvin raced 30 yards on a jet sweep to the left. That helped set up a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka.

... Russell Wilson completed a 37-yard pass to Doug Baldwin on a third-and-5 play to set up a 33-yard Hauschka field goal.

Second guesses: Both coaches lost challenges in the first quarter. Seattle’s Pete Carroll challenged the spot on a Russell Wilson run that would have been a first down, and Denver’s John Fox unsuccessfully challenged that a throw from Wilson to Harvin should have been deemed a lateral and recovered by the Broncos.

SECOND QUARTER

Malcolm in the middle

Malcolm Smith has been in the right place at the right time in the Seattle Seahawks’ last two games. Smith scored on a 69-yard interception return to put the Seahawks up, 22-0, in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

In the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco, he came down with the game-clinching interception after the pass was broken up by Richard Sherman – a part of the play largely forgotten following Sherman’s postgame outburst.

Smith is the younger brother of Steve Smith, a world champion with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. They became just the sixth brother combination to win Super Bowls as players.

Key plays: Former Bills running back Marshawn Lynch plunged in from 1 yard away to give the Seahawks a 15-0 lead on the fifth play of the quarter.

… Broncos cornerback Tony Carter was hit with a flag for pass interference while defending Golden Tate, setting up the Seahawks at the Denver 1-yard line two plays prior to Lynch’s score.

Second guess: The Broncos passed up a chance to get on the scoreboard, electing to go for it on fourth and 2 from the Seattle 19-yard line with 1:06 left before halftime. Peyton Manning’s pass was deflected by Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons and fell incomplete.

THIRD QUARTER

Special team

When things are going right, they’re going right. The Seattle Seahawks could certainly attest to that during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII. The quarter started with an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Percy Harvin, then it got even better from there.

Harvin’s touchdown – which, like Seattle’s opening score of the game, came just 12 seconds into the half – made the Seahawks the first team in Super Bowl history to score in all three phases of the game and also get a safety.

Later in the quarter, Jermain Kearse’s 23-yard touchdown reception perfectly summarized the game. Kearse eluded the attempted tackles by five Broncos on his way to the end zone and a whopping 36-0 lead. Kearse was one of seven different receivers to have a reception for the Seahawks through the first three quarters.

Key plays: No team in the NFL was better at creating turnovers this season than the Seahawks. That was no different Sunday. Seattle recorded its third turnover when Byron Maxwell stripped Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas at Seattle’s 21-yard line after a 23-yard gain. Malcolm Smith recovered the ball.

FOURTH QUARTER

Wilson a big winner

Make sure to include Russell Wilson in your next “elite quarterback” debate amongst buddies.

Wilson, the second-year pro out of Wisconsin, was Energy Star-efficient in leading the Seattle Seahawks to a 43-8 victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Wilson finished the game 18 of 25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 123.1, and also added 26 rushing yards on three attempts. He completed passes to eight different receivers in improving his career record, including the postseason, to 27-9. Wilson, 25, is a former minor-league baseball player in the Colorado Rockies’ organization. He played football at Wisconsin for one season as a graduate student after playing quarterback for three years at North Carolina State.

And from the this-hurts department – Wilson was chosen six picks after the Bills traded up in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft and selected wide receiver T.J. Graham.

Key plays: At least there’s this for the Broncos: Peyton Manning set a Super Bowl record with 34 completions. The previous high had been 32, shared by Tom Brady (Super Bowl XXXVIII) and Drew Brees (Super Bowl XLIV).

Former Bills quarterback Tarvaris Jackson gets to say he participated in a Super Bowl. He relieved Wilson with 3 minutes to play.

Second guess: The Seahawks were still throwing. They owed it to everyone to keep the clock running.