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Super Bowl final score: Seahawks thrash Broncos, 43-8

The Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos in all three phrases to cruise to the easiest Super Bowl victory seen in 21 years.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in throughly dominant fashion last night, throttling the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win their first championship in franchise history.

Seattle took an early lead on a Broncos safety on the first play from scrimmage, when a snap flew over the shoulder of Peyton Manning into the end zone. It was all downhill from there for Denver, who watched Seattle mount a 15-0 lead before finding any sort of momentum on offense. Facing that deficit, but driving late in the first half, the Broncos were unable to steal some momentum; instead, Manning was hit as he threw, and third-year linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted the pass, returning it 69 yards for a touchdown that put the Seahawks up 22-0 at halftime.

After the halftime show, Percy Harvin blew the game wide open by returning a kickoff - purposely pooched short to keep it out of Harvin's hands, by the way - 87 yards for another Seattle touchdown. Russell Wilson then hit Jermaine Kearse for the first of his two touchdown passes, giving the Seahawks a 36-0 lead in the third quarter. Manning found Demaryius Thomas for a touchdown and Wes Welker for a two-point conversion to close out the third quarter, but Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter, and Seattle's dominant defense (which forced four turnovers) shut the Broncos down in the final period.

The 35-point Seahawks victory was the most lopsided Super Bowl outcome since - yeah, you guessed it - the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Buffalo Bills, 52-17, in Super Bowl XXVIII, just over 21 years ago.

Smith, a 2011 seventh-round pick out of USC, was named Super Bowl MVP. Four former members of the Bills organization are now league champions: Marshawn Lynch (15 carries, 39 yards and a touchdown), Tarvaris Jackson, head coach Pete Carroll and assistant line coach Pat Ruel.

That's how the 2014 NFL season came to an end. The cycle begins anew on February 22, when the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine begins in Indianapolis.