Seahawks lead Broncos 43-8 in 4th quarter

Seahawks lead Broncos 43-8 in 4th quarter
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) intercepts a pass intended for Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. Smith ran the interception back for a touchdown. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are having their way with the Denver Broncos.

And, with help from their relentless top-ranked defense, the Seahawks are making Peyton Manning & Co. just plain miserable, leading 43-8 early in the fourth quarter at the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

Doug Baldwin caught a pass from Russell Wilson at the goal line and pushed his way into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown that put Seattle up by 35 points with 11:45 remaining.

Jermaine Kearse spun out of two tackle attempts for an impressive 23-yard touchdown catch with 2:58 left in the third quarter, making it 36-0.

Seattle's stingy defense took advantage of yet another turnover by Denver to set up the score. Byron Maxwell knocked the ball out of Demaryius Thomas' hands on a 23-yard reception and Malcolm Smith recovered. Six plays later, Kearse put the Seahawks (15-3) back on the scoreboard.

The Broncos avoided the shutout on the final play of the quarter on Thomas' 14-yard touchdown catch - his 12th reception of the game to set a Super Bowl record. Wes Welker then caught a 2-point conversion toss.

But Seattle got the ball right back after Denver tried an onside kick, setting up Baldwin's TD catch. The Broncos (15-3) lost All-Pro guard Louis Vasquez to a rib injury in the third quarter.

Percy Harvin returned the kickoff to open the third quarter 87 yards for a touchdown, putting the Seahawks ahead 29-0 just 12 seconds after the teams returned from the halftime break, the Broncos' biggest deficit of the season.

Harvin, who missed most of the season with injuries, initially struggled fielding the short kickoff but then burst up the middle and cut left once he was in the clear. It was the second straight Super Bowl the second-half kickoff was returned for a touchdown after Baltimore's Jacoby Jones did it last year.

Smith returned Manning's second interception of the game 69 yards with 3:21 left in the opening half to make it 22-0.

Seattle became the first team to hold the Broncos' record-setting offense to no points in any half this season. Denver gained 123 yards on 31 plays - averaging less than 4 yards a play.

On third-and-13 from the Seahawks 35, Manning's arm was hit by Cliff Avril as he attempted to throw a pass to Knowshon Moreno. The ball fluttered in the air to Smith, who took off down the left sideline and into the end zone untouched.

Smith had the victory-sealing interception in the NFC championship against the San Francisco 49ers on a tipped pass in the end zone by Richard Sherman.

Marshawn Lynch's 1-yard touchdown run 3 minutes into the second quarter gave the Seahawks a 15-0 lead over the Broncos to cap a drive that came after Manning's first interception. Kam Chancellor picked off a pass that was too high and intended for Julius Thomas.

The key play for Seattle came on the first play of the drive, a 15-yard run by Harvin, who has 45 yards rushing for Seattle.

Manning and Denver's high-powered offense looked uncharacteristically sloppy and unproductive, with no first downs in the first 19 minutes.

On the first play from scrimmage, Broncos center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball by Manning, who was walking up to the line and didn't have his hands ready. The ball was recovered by running back Knowshon Moreno in the end zone for a safety.

The Seahawks led 2-0 after 12 seconds, the fastest score in Super Bowl history. It was 2 seconds faster than Devin Hester's kickoff return for a score in 2007.

Seattle made it 5-0 on the ensuing possession when Steven Hauschka kicked a 31-yard field goal following a false start penalty on a drive helped by a 30-yard run by Harvin, who missed almost the entire season with injuries.

After Manning and the Broncos went three-and-out, Wilson led an impressive 13-play drive, capped by Hauschka's 33-yard field goal that made it 8-0 with 2:16 left in the opening quarter. Seattle nearly had more as Baldwin caught a pass from Wilson in the back of the end zone on third-and-goal from the 14, but Nate Irving slapped it out of the wide receiver's hands.

The first Super Bowl played outdoors at a cold-weather site was an abnormally warm 49 degrees at kickoff at MetLife Stadium and hardly the winter wonderland many expected for the NFL's biggest game.

Many fans in the jam-packed stands were able to shed their heavy winter coats, sporting their orange Manning jerseys and blue and green Wilson and Sherman jerseys.

While the New York-New Jersey area was expected to get hit with snow Monday morning, the record for coldest Super Bowl remained the 1972 game in New Orleans, where it was 39.