Peyton Manning has received unfair criticism for Super Bowl loss

The crushing defeat of Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos will tarnish the quarterback’s legacy.

It shouldn’t. But it will.

Manning’s stats — 34-49, 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — didn’t live up to a typical Peyton Manning game. But it was a respectable individual effort against the No. 1 defense in the league.

 
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Manning didn’t have time in the pocket to play his game. Seattle linemen pressured him on almost every pass. He was hit four times, which caused of both of his interceptions.

He did have miscues. Manning overthrew some passes and miscommunicated on routes, even throwing some “ducks.” He did not play as well as he could have.

That being said, the Seahawks defense was phenomenal. Broncos receivers had no room to work. Manning found ways to squeeze the ball in windows, and when he did, the Seahawks defenders would not miss the tackle.

The Broncos defense couldn’t stop the Seahawks, and as the score increased in Seattle’s favor, the run game became nonexistent. It hadn’t done much good in the first place — the Broncos accumulated just 27 yards on the ground.

Rookie running back Montee Ball carried the ball six times for 1 yard, while Knowshon Moreno earned just 17 yards on five carries.

Manning had to pass it. Seattle recognized this and stopped him.

This game should not be a mark against Manning. Every Broncos unit struggled. Super Bowl XLVIII should be a reflection on the dominance of the Seahawks and a young team coming together.

Reach the columnist at logan.newman@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Logan_Newsman