Of all the records that Peyton Manning owns, the hardest one to comprehend might be the one he set on Sunday night. He completed 34 passes to eclipse Tom Brady's mark for the most successful passes in a single Super Bowl.

When Brady set the record in Super Bowl XXXVIII, he did so in an MVP performance, leading the New England Patriots to a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers. On Sunday night, in Super Bowl XLVIII, Manning and the Broncos were embarrassed 43-8 by the Seattle Seahawks.

Or not embarrassed, depending upon who you ask.

"It's not embarrassing at all," Manning said. "I would never use that word. There's a lot of professional football players in that room that put in a lot of hard work into being here, into being in that game. The word 'embarrassing' is an insulting word, to tell you the truth."

The Broncos lost by 35 points, the largest Super Bowl margin since 1993, when the Buffalo Bills got steamrolled by the Dallas Cowboys 52-17. At least the Bills scored first in that game, and had the dignity-saving moment of Don Beebe running down Leon Lett.

The Broncos started Sunday night with Manny Ramirez snapping the ball over Manning's head for a safety, and it never really got better. Denver's one touchdown cut the score to 36-8 on the last play of the third quarter.

But if it was so bad for the Broncos, how did Manning set the completion record?

There were several contributing factors, starting with the scoreboard dictating that Denver try to work its way back by passing. Plus, the running game wasn't working for the Broncos anyway — Knowshon Moreno was held to 17 yards on five carries, and Denver as a team accumulated only 10 more rushing yards.

The other part of the recipe for Manning's record performance was somewhat counterintuitive: the defense Manning faced.

The Seahawks sacked Manning once, on a forced fumble in the fourth quarter, but the future Hall of Famer was under pressure all night. With less time in the pocket, Manning had to look for shorter passes. In the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Manning completed 32 passes for 400 yards. Six other times this season, he completed 30 or more passes, and in each game, he had more than 300 passing yards. The Broncos won all six.