Super Bowl notebook: Effort versus Steelers boosted WR's career

| Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 9:48 p.m.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Demaryius Thomas still thanks the Steelers for jump-starting his career.

Before his breakout four-catch, 204-yard game against Pittsburgh in the 2011 season, the Broncos' 2010 first-round draft pick had all of two 100-yard games. He also fought through injuries that limited his time on the field.

Since that game — remember, he scored on an 80-yard pass off Tim Tebow's short pass at the beginning of overtime — Thomas said he has felt more confident, and a much bigger part of the Denver offense. He is Peyton Manning's top deep threat, with 2,834 yards receiving — a pair of 1,400 seasons — and 24 touchdown passes the past two seasons.

Thomas said he has felt like a different receiver since that wild-card playoff game.

“It did a lot for me,” Thomas said of that game 25 months ago. “It put me in a position to really start my career off. After that, I've been healthy and able to make some plays.”

Hefty price to pay

Huge winter coats — Joe Namath's excepted — weren't required for the Super Bowl, given that temperatures were in the 50s most of the day. But a credit card with a large line of credit was needed for spectators who chose to eat at MetLife Stadium. A sampling of the concession stand prices: Soup in a souvenir mug, $20; cheesesteak, $16; 20-ounce premium beer, $14; sausage sandwich, $14; foot-long hot dog, $13; hot chocolate, $11.

Safety first

The poor-snap safety on the Broncos' first play from scrimmage was the ninth safety in Super Bowl history, and marked the third consecutive Super Bowl with one. It occurred 12 seconds into the game, making it the fastest score at the start of a Super Bowl by two seconds. Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for the Bears against the Colts in the 2006 season Super Bowl.

Mirroring Wilson

It's not easy to replicate a quarterback such as Russell Wilson in practice for the opposing team, especially when the backup quarterback is 6-foot-8, as the Broncos' Brock Osweiler is. So to give the starting defense a reasonable look, the Broncos divided scout team QB duties this week between Osweiler and Zac Dysert.

“It's hard, obviously,” Dysert said. “You just try to do your best, give the defense a good look, run around a little bit and scramble. (You try to) move around a little, (run some) rollouts, (do a) scrambling drill, anything I can. He's going to scramble around a little bit, unlike Tom Brady.”

Super deficit

The Seahawks' 22-point halftime lead was the largest in a Super Bowl since the 49ers led the Broncos — yes, Broncos — 27-3 en route to their 55-10 romp in January 1990, still the most lopsided in history. The Broncos became the 11th team to be shut out in the first half of a Super Bowl; none recovered to win. The Broncos have been on the wrong end of the three most lopsided halftime scores in Super Bowl history.

Defense wins games

This was the fifth time since the NFL merger in 1970 that the league's top defense met the top offense. For the fourth time, the No. 1 defense won. The only exception was the 49ers against the Broncos in January 1990.

Not Peyton's place

Manning failed to become the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two teams. His lone Super Bowl win was for the Colts against the Bears in the 2006 season. But Wilson extended some rather unpredictable success by second-year QBs in the Super Bowl; they are 4-2, with wins coming from Kurt Warner (Rams), Brady (Patriots) and Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers).

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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