The Denver Broncos had four turnovers and managed just one score against the mighty Seattle Seahawks defense in the Super Bowl. But don't tell Peyton Manning that his team's performance Sunday was embarrassing.
"It's not embarrassing at all. I would never use that word,'' Manning said after the game. "The word 'embarrassing' is an insulting word, to tell you the truth."
Manning completed 34 of 49 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, but he couldn't find a route over the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" secondary and also threw two interceptions. The Seahawks pounded the Broncos 43-8.
Manning's total quarterback rating of 24.4 was his lowest of the season and the worst in a Super Bowl since Rex Grossman's 7.1 in 2006.
"We played a great team," Manning said. "We needed to play really well in order to win, and we didn't come anywhere close to that."
Manning fell to 1-2 in Super Bowls and 11-12 overall in the playoffs, but Broncos coach John Fox was at a loss for words when asked whether Manning's playoff record has tarnished his career.
"I can't really say it out loud, right here, because I get into trouble," Fox said. "Ludicrous would be proper English."
Wide receiver Wes Welker cited Manning's prolific regular season, in which he set NFL records with 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns.
"He had the best year of his whole career at 37, so I wouldn't say he's slowing down," Welker said. "He's going upward, not downward."
"When we was up about 29 points, just [Manning's] whole emotion was kind of like he was dry," McDaniel said, according to NFL.com. "Just the whole team looked like they was giving up, and once we scored again, I knew it was over."
Some Seahawks players batted away criticism of Manning after the game.
"Peyton's still the greatest quarterback to ever play the game," defensive end Michael Bennett said. "This doesn't destroy his legacy."
A lot of pregame focus was on whether Manning would challenge Richard Sherman, the Seahawks' outspoken star cornerback.
Sherman had three tackles and one pass defensed before suffering a high ankle sprain late in the game. Afterward, he told fans on Twitter not to place the blame on the Broncos' quarterback.
Peyton is the Classiest person/player I have ever met! I could learn so much from him! Thank you for being a great Competitor and person— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
There is no reason to bash him on here please Seattle let's just enjoy this one!!!! He is still a Future HOF player— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 3, 2014
Sherman also praised Manning during an interview Monday morning on ESPN's "Mike and Mike."
"When I was limping up to my press conference and trying to make it up the stairs, somebody taps me on the shoulder and extends their hand and asks if I'm all right," Sherman said during the interview. "My eyes try to make it up to see who it is, and it's Peyton ... fully dressed in a suit and obviously very concerned about my well-being.
"You know, after a game like that, biggest stage ever -- to ask how you're doing and really be generally concerned about an opponent, that shows an incredibly different amount of humility and class."
Sherman also explained Monday why he took to Twitter to defend Manning.
"People shouldn't have to write to bash him after the season he had and everything he did ... everything he's accomplished in his career and this year as a football player," Sherman said. "He is a Hall of Fame player, he's a living legend, he's a record-holding quarterback, he's a Super Bowl champion, he's been a Super Bowl MVP.
"I think if you want to criticize his play on the field, that's fine. But don't call some of the things that they were calling him."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.