The Denver Broncos have won Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Feb. 7, 2016. The final score of the game was 24-10, but surprisingly, there was only one offensive touchdown that was made late in the fourth quarter by Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with their defense and reinforced the controversial NFL mantra that “defense wins Super Bowls.”
Carolina won the coin toss, which resulted in Denver being on offense first. Broncos’ wide receiver, Andre Caldwell, caught the opening kick and was tackled at the 20-yard line to start the game. Quarterback Peyton Manning immediately passed to tight end Owen Daniels for a first down. However, the Broncos were unable to score a touchdown in the opening drive and left their kicker, Brandon McManus, to successfully kick the 34-yard field goal to put Denver up 3-0.
The Broncos only scored one offensive touchdown, one defensive touchdown, three field goals, and a two-point conversion play throughout the entire game. This Super Bowl was a low-scoring game altogether as Carolina was only successful with one touchdown and a field goal. The Panthers and their quarterback, Cam Newton, are known for having the best offense in the NFL, but Newton became frustrated playing against the explosive Denver defense. Newton was likely to have realized that this game would be more difficult than the previous ones when the Broncos’ defense forced a sack on Newton. This resulted in a fumble recovery and touchdown into the end zone by Malik Jackson to bring the Broncos to 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Into the second quarter, Carolina fought hard to be within Bronco territory. Carolina’s running back, Jonathan Stewart, was able to make the one-yard run into the end zone, followed by an extra point kick by Graham Gano to put the Panthers within three points. The score at halftime was 13-7 as the Broncos’ McManus kicked another field goal from the 33-yard line to keep Denver’s lead.
Fans expected the Panthers to make a comeback in the second half of the game. However, Carolina remained scoreless in the third quarter and the only score that was made was another Broncos’ field goal from the 30-yard line. Denver’s defense continued to attack the Panthers and prevented any touchdowns from being made. Despite the fact that Carolina could not score a touchdown in the third quarter, they were able to score one more time in the game, which was a field goal made by Gano from the 39-yard line. This meant the Panthers were down six points as the score was 16-10, with the Broncos having the lead into the fourth quarter.
Newton was sacked four times in the first half and six times overall in the game. The Denver Broncos’ defense may have been the reason why they won Super Bowl 50, but the one player that attacked Carolina’s offense the most was the Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), Broncos’ linebacker Von Miller. He recorded 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles that led to two touchdowns in the game. The score in the fourth quarter was 16-10, with Denver having the lead. Miller was able to hit the football out of Newton’s hand for a fumble, and the Broncos gained possession well within Carolina’s end zone at the two-yard mark. Broncos’ running back, C.J. Anderson, made the 2-yard touchdown run, and Manning was able to pass the ball to Bennie Fowler for the two-point conversion to seal the Broncos’ lead with only three minutes left in the game. At this point, Carolina knew their Super Bowl champion dreams were over.
Super Bowl 50 consisted of a record-high 10 sacks. Six of those sacks were on Newton and four were on Manning. There were six turnovers in the game–four on Carolina and two on Denver. A total of 18 penalties were recorded. The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with their defense as they allowed Carolina to only score a season-low of ten points. Newton won the 2015 AP NFL Most Valuable Player on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at the NFL Honors show, and the Carolina Panthers head coach, Ron Rivera, won Coach of the Year. Despite these honors, Carolina was unable to score high and keep up against the Broncos’ explosive, well-built defense in the one game of the season that mattered the most.
Opinion by Tricia Manalansan
Edited by Leigh Haugh
ESPN: Defense Powers Broncos, Peyton Manning to Super Bowl 50 Win
CNN: Super Bowl 2016: Broncos’ Defense Dominates as Peyton Manning Wins Second Title
Lancaster Online: Denver’s Von-derful defense crushes Carolina in Super Bowl 50
Image Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License