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Best defense in NFL carries Seattle to titleSubmitted: 02/02/2014
Story By Associated Press

NEW JERSEY - Richard Sherman felt the need to apologize.

While the rest of his teammates bounced around in celebration, Sherman hobbled
on a pair of crutches, the pain in his right ankle keeping him from enjoying
the rain storm of confetti.

``This championship hat, winning, achieving a dream it really numbs the pain a
lot. It was really hurting and I was sad I let my teammates down I wasn't able
to finish the game,'' Sherman said. ``I knew they would step up for me and do
that. This feeling is just unbelievable. It's a dream come true.''

Led by its All-Pro cornerback, Seattle's ``Legion of Boom'' secondary and the
nastiest defense in the NFL proved the strength of the Seahawks was greater
than the record-setting arm of Peyton Manning in their stunning 43-8 rout on
Sunday night.

Sherman's night was, well, kind of boring. After two weeks of so much attention
landing at Sherman's feet for what happened at the end of the NFC championship
game, his Super Bowl night was rather uneventful.

That was by design. Manning wasn't about to mess with arguably the best
cornerback in the NFL.

Manning carefully tried to avoid throwing at Sherman, leaving the rest of his
mates in the secondary to make the plays. Safety Kam Chancellor flattened
Demaryius Thomas on Denver's third offensive play, a tone setting moment that
epitomized what Seattle was hoping to accomplish against the Broncos talented
receivers.

``I definitely think it did. It just sends a message that anytime you come
across the middle you have a chance of getting wrecked,'' Chancellor said.
``And that's the way we play on defense. We play physical. We want to instill
our will. We want to be a grimy defense.''

Chancellor later had an interception on an overthrown pass, cornerback Byron
Maxwell forced a fumble in the third quarter and safety Earl Thomas cleaned up
everything leftover _ which wasn't much.

The result was one of the most lopsided Super Bowl's ever against the most
prolific offense the league had even seen.

``You can never expect it but I wasn't really shocked. I expected us to stand
up,'' Sherman said. ``I didn't expect us to give up a whole lot of points. It's
not our standard to give up a whole lot of points. We haven't done it all year.
We knew we would play sound football.''

That secondary got plenty of help along with way from a defensive line that got
enough pressure to make Manning uncomfortable. They only sacked Manning once,
but disrupted the timing of the Broncos pass game regularly. Manning either
made an extra pump, or had to take an extra slide step because of the pressure
coming at him and the coverage in the secondary.

And when the passes were thrown, there was almost always someone there to make
the tackle. As was their approach all season, Seattle was not going get beaten
by the big play. Everything was thrown underneath.

Denver's longest pass play was 23 yards.

``Tackling was going to be so important in this game,'' Seattle defensive
coordinator Dan Quinn said. ``It was something we stress all the time, but for
us when we play our zone coverages how fast can we close and really eliminate
the yards after contact.''

Sherman was targeted only once in the first half when Manning threw a pass away
that floated out of bounds. It came during the only drive of the half where
Denver threatened to score, only to get turned away on fourth down.

Sherman was targeted more in the second half and twice had to be tended to by
trainers for injuries. The last time finally sent him to the locker room and
left Sherman on crutches and in a boot for the celebration.

But Sherman insisted he would be healthy enough for the championship parade
coming on Wednesday after the Seahawks gave a performance that showed their
success goes beyond their spotlighted secondary.

``It's a lot of guys a lot of people haven't heard of and probably should be in
the Pro Bowl and All-Pros and things like that,'' Sherman said. ``I think they
learned how complete of a team we are, how complete our defense is.

``It's not just the `Legion of Boom' back there with four guys who play good
football.''



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