Super Bowl 50 Recap
Photo: Getty Images
By: Daniel Marcinek
The Denver Broncos took a thrilling, albeit gritty and defensive, game with a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Denver came out of the gates with a strong offensive display. Peyton Manning had throws of 18 and 22 yards to get his team in field goal range, with Brandon McManus converting a 34 yard spot kick to give the Broncos an early 3-0 lead and help send a message to the Panthers that they were ready to play. The Panthers were unable to reply, going three and out, with the Broncos doing likewise on their next possession. Starting at their own 15 yard line, the next Panthers drive went awry quickly, thanks to a Von Miller strip-sack on Panthers quarterback Cam. Denver’s Malik Jackson recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, sending a blow to the Panthers that they never seemed to fully recover from. After a couple of short drives that ended in punts for both teams, the Panthers were finally able to punch it in after a nine play, 73 yard drive that ended with a Jonathan Stewart one-yard run. A punt for the Panthers a couple drives later fooled Carolina’s coverage team. Expecting a fair catch, the Panthers special teams let Justin Norwood of the Broncos return the punt 61 yards, automatically putting them in field goal range. McManus converted another kick to give Denver a 13-7 lead. A Peyton Manning interception late in the second quarter was the Broncos only first half blunder.
Carolina started the second half with a strong 54 yard drive, but kicker Graham Gano could not convert the 44 yard field goal attempt, as it agonizingly struck the right post. Denver responded with a 54 yard drive of their own and another McManus field goal, stretching the lead to 16-7. The Panthers looked destined to respond with a rapid five play, 52 yard drive that ended in a deflected Cam Newton pass which found its way into the arms of Denver defender T.J. Ward. After a few short drives by each team, the Panthers were able to pressure Manning and force the fumble, which put Carolina near field goal range. A Gano field goal closed the gap to six, as Denver now only led 16-10. After a succession of three and outs by both teams, the Denver defense proved to be too much of a task for Carolina to handle, as Von Miller was at it again with another strip-sack, this time returned by T.J. Ward to the Carolina 9 yard line. C.J. Anderson ran it in for the score, and what looked like the end of the road for the Panthers. A successful two-point conversion saw the Panthers down 24-10 with only 3:08 to go. Even with Carolina in desperation mode, they still could not drive the ball down the field. This last stand by the Denver defense capped off an impeccable performance by them, suffocating and frustrating the so-far scintillating Panthers offense. Von Miller was named MVP after a stellar performance. The final score of 24-10 is only a small part of the story in a game where emotions were high, and it was proven once again that defense, without a doubt, can win championships.