From bad to worse.
No four words could better sum up Denver quarterback Peyton Manning's Sunday evening against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.
From an errant snap sailing past his head for a safety on the opening play of the game, to a first-quarter interception, to a second interception that became a 69-yard touchdown for Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the 37-year-old Manning's performance was anything but perfect during an opening half that saw Seattle lead 22-0 at intermission.
When former Florida Gator Percy Harvin returned the second-half kickoff for an 87-yard touchdown and a 29-0 Seattle lead, any chance of Manning rallying the NFL's best offense during the regular season to a victory over the league's top defense was all erased.
No team had ever rallied from more than 10 points down to win a Super Bowl and the Broncos didn't become the first, eventually losing 43-8, to fall to 2-5 all-time in pro football's biggest game.
For Manning, the former University of Tennessee All-American, the loss marked his second defeat in his third Super Bowl appearance. He won it all with the Indianapolis Colts at the close of the 2006 season before losing to New Orleans to wrap up the 2009 season.
Whether the five-time league MVP will return for a 17th professional season is expected to hinge on a medical evaluation of his neck, which was fused three years ago.
Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfree press.com.
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...