East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle rode its top-ranked defense to a big first-half lead in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
Peyton Manning and the top-ranked Denver offense? After a slow start, they got the Seahawks to bend a little, but Cliff Avril and Malcolm Smith made sure the defense didn't break.
Avril hit Manning on a throw and Smith intercepted the pass, returning it for a 69-yard touchdown that gave the Seahawks a 22-0 lead at halftime.
Seattle scored 16 points off Denver turnovers, including a safety 12 seconds into the game after the ball was snapped over Manning's head on the first play from scrimmage. It was the fastest score in Super Bowl history.
Manning threw two interceptions in the half -- both leading to Seattle touchdowns. Kam Chancellor's pick late in the first quarter set up Marshawn Lynch's 1-yard touchdown for Seattle.
Manning was 17-of-23 for 104 yards in the first half. He was set up in the shotgun and appeared to be walking toward the line calling out protection when Ramirez hiked the ball over his head and into the end zone for a safety.
The score came two seconds sooner than Devin Hester's 92-yard kickoff return for Chicago to begin Super Bowl XLI. Manning's Indianapolis Colts beat the Bears in that game.
On Seattle's first possession, a 30-yard reverse by receiver Percy Harvin -- back after missing the NFC title game with a concussion -- set up Steven Hauschka's 31-yard field goal for a 5-0 lead less than five minutes in.
Manning, attempting to become the first starting quarterback to lead two different franchises to a Super Bowl win, had two short completions on the next drive, but Denver went three-and-out and the Seahawks went up 8-0 on a 33-yard field goal.
Denver kept them from scoring a touchdown after Russell Wilson dropped a pass into Doug Baldwin's hands for a 37-yard gain down the left sideline to the 6- yard line. Broncos linebacker Nate Irving knocked the ball out of Jermaine Kearse's hands on a third-down pass into the end zone, leading to Hauschka's kick.
On Denver's third possession, Manning was intercepted by Chancellor on third down, setting Seattle up at the Denver 37. Lynch's run made it 15-0.
The Broncos moved 49 yards, their first sustained drive, before Avril hit Manning's arm on a 3rd-and-13 play. Smith picked off the wobbling pass and scored easily to make it 22-0.
Denver avoided a fourth disaster when Trindon Holliday's fumble on the ensuing kickoff was overturned. Holliday was ruled down before the ball was stripped.
The Broncos are 2-4 in six previous Super Bowls, winning back-to-back titles in 1998-99 behind quarterback John Elway, who is now the team's executive vice president of football operations.
The NFC-champion Seahawks are trying to win their first Super Bowl title in their second appearance in the game.
Russell Wilson was 9-of-14 in the first half for 94 yards and Lynch had 11 carries for just 17 yards.