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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Peyton Manning's legacy at stake after abysmal Super Bowl first half

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Really bad first half for Peyton Manning.
Really bad first half for Peyton Manning. (USATSI)

More SB coverage: Seahawks win, 43-8 | Photos | Numbers | More news

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Peyton Manning's legacy is sitting in the corner of the Broncos room crying right now from the abuse it's taking on social media after the Seahawks dominated the Broncos 22-0 in the first half of Super Bowl XLVIII.

Manning threw a pair of interceptions including one that was returned 69 yards by Malcolm Smith for a touchdown. All told, Manning went 17 for 23 for 104 yards, good for an average of 4.5 yards per passing attempt. It was a brutal, horrible, disaster of a half for the highest-scoring offense in NFL history.

And not to get too knee-jerk here, but Manning has about 30 minutes to correct the way people will perceive him for the rest of his career. Going 1-2 in Super Bowls with this kind of nightmare performance will absolutely feed anyone who wants to question Manning's placement among the all-time greats.

On the other side, the Seahawks were dominant. Their front seven -- particularly Cliff Avril -- embarrassed the Broncos offensive line and made things difficult for Manning by putting him on the move in the pocket.

Their defense didn't let the Broncos move down the field much at all, routinely blowing up Denver's players on short screens and the like.

Russell Wilson wasn't perfect and Marshawn Lynch didn't put up massive rushing numbers, but the Seahawks were creative on offense, getting Percy Harvin involved in the run game (two carries, 45 yards) and keeping Denver on its toes defensively.

The Broncos defense actually did a really good job of limiting the Seahawks; 22-0 feels like a bloodbath but it could be much, much worse if Nate Irving hadn't made a huge play on a Wilson pass in the end zone.

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