Super Bowl 50 has come and gone, with the Denver Broncos beating the Carolina Panthers in a defensive heavy game. Neither offense ever seemed to fully get into rhythm, and the defenses just dominated from the start. The Broncos defense, the top defense in the league coming into the game, out-dueled the Panthers, tallying seven sacks, three fumble recoveries, and one interception.
The game could prove to be the fitting end to the career of Peyton Manning, who seems to be headed toward retirement and an induction into the Hall of Fame in five years. Manning, if he chooses to retire, will leave the game as the only player to reach 200 career wins, winning that 200th game tonight, along with all the rest of his records.
Below, you will find my thoughts as the game was played. It is semi-play-by-play, semi-reactions.
- Great National Anthem by Lady Gaga and the Blue Angels look great - even if they are Navy.
- Joe Montana knows how to actually flip a coin.
- Panthers win the toss and defer. Peyton getting the ball first.
- The Broncos come out firing. First four plays, all Peyton Manning throws picking up 46 yards.
- There's the Denver running game. C.J. Anderson with back-to-back carries for 8 yards and 12 yards.
- Manning throws an out route and it gets jumped. Robert McClain knocks away the pass.
- Field Goal Denver. 3-0.
- Cam Newton getting his shot now.
- Oooo. Bad first throw from Newton as he overthrows a wide open receiver. Nerves there. He will settle down.
- Aqib Talib with the tackle of Greg Olsen a yard shy of the first down. Panthers going three-and-out on their first drive.
- Peyton back on the field.
- Anderson gets hit hard, but bounces off. Looked like the Panthers were trying to break him in half there. Brings up 3rd-and-1.
- Pass from Manning to Anderson for no gain. Broncos punting.
- Great hard throw up the middle from Cam Newton, but Jericho Cotchery drops it. Ruled incomplete, but the Panthers are challenging. Hard to overturn it.
- Mike Carey says it will be overturned. Guaranteed to stand now.....and it does.
- Von Miller with the sack, strips the ball, and Malick Jackson with the recovery in the endzone. Touchdown Broncos. 10-0.
- Another Panthers fumble. But, the Panthers fall back on it.
- Cam Newton looks deep for Ted Ginn, but bad overthrow.
- Newton sacked again. But Aqib Talib called for taunting and it gives the Panthers a first down.
- The penalty only costs the Broncos field position as the Panthers still end up punting.
- As we close in on the end of the first quarter, with the Broncos having the ball, the Panthers have -11 yards passing. (12 yards, 23 sack yards).
- Luke Kuechly with the sack of Manning, and Broncos now punting.
- The Panthers have run 14 plays and have 8 yards.
- There's a deep pass from Newton for 20 yards. Can this get the Panthers offense started?
- End of the First Quarter. Broncos 10-0.
- Newton takes off and runs for the first down. This looks more like the Panthers offense.
- Newton running again. Picks up another first down. Von Miller takes him down and the Panthers sideline doesn't like it. Don't know why Ealy was not called for a penalty for pushing Miller, especially given the taunting penalty on Talib earlier.
- Ugly facemask by Talib.
- Roger Goodell proposed during his State of the League address that two personal foul penalties could lead to an ejection of the player. That would be it for Talib.
- TOUCHDOWN! Jonathan Stewart for the score for Panthers. 10-7 Broncos now.
- That drive moved the Panthers offense from 14 plays for 8 yards to 22 plays for 86 yards.
- Manning slips, gets up, maybe fumbles, maybe throws the ball underhand. Not sure what is happening on this play.
- Ron Rivera going for his second challenge of the game. Manning clearly touched as he slipped. Should be a sack. Unless Mike Carey says it was a sack.
- The Panthers win the challenge, but they are now out of challenges.
- Broncos go 3-and-out. After a penalty and a re-kick, Panthers will start at the 50. Taking that 7-yard sack looks like a good move.
- The field is a story now. In the pre-game, CBS talked about how great the field was, how it was specially grown for tonight and how the NFL had routinely inspected it to make sure it was going to be good. It's not. It's giving up all over the place with players slipping.
- Ted Ginn was looking to throw back across the field to Newton. It was well covered. Takes the sack.
- Panthers punting. 61 yard return with Peyton taking over at the 14 yard line.
- 3rd and 1. Panthers stop the Broncos. Now, Broncos going for it.
- FIRST DOWN. But, there's a flag. Holding on the Broncos. Negates the conversion and turns the long punt return into a field goal. Field Goal. Denver 13-7.
- Miami cannot get another Super Bowl because fans might have to sit in the rain. Levi's Stadium has turf falling apart under the players, and that seems okay.
- Cam Newton runs, and is stripped, but he was down first.
- Mike Tolbert runs and is stripped. Broncos recover.
- What has happened to Demaryius Thomas? How did he forget how to catch?
- C.J. Anderson with the 34 yard run. Great play.
- Ouch. Peyton Manning with the bad decision and Kony Ealy with the interception.
- The Panthers have to punt, however. This game is all about the defense.
- And, now the Broncos are punting. Seriously, has anyone told either team this is an offense-driven league?
- Newton running and a good tackle from Chris Harris. Clean open field take down.
- What a catch! Newton stays in the pocket and finds Devin Funchess down the field, who somehow goes up tall and snatches the ball.
- Wow, the Panthers are chewing clock on this 2-minute drive. Looks like Andy Reid and Doug Pederson's decision to not give the Patriots back the ball.
- DeMarcus Ware just crushed Cam Newton to get the sack to end the first half.
- End of the Half. Broncos 13-7.
- Panthers get the ball to start the second half.
- Ted Ginn caught the ball! But then he ran out of bounds on his own. Shocking! And seems right.
- That's the second time intentional grounding should have been called on Cam Newton and wasn't. That ball did not get back to the line of scrimmage.
- The Panthers continue to drop the ball. Great throw by Newton to Cotchery and a bad drop.
- Panthers stall and settle for a field goal attempt. And it's no good. Bounces off the right upright.
- Emmanuel Sanders looking good early in the second half.
- Omaha pulls the Panthers off sides.
- And the Broncos have to settle for another field goal. Broncos 16-7.
- What a catch by Philly Brown. 42-yard gain as he goes up and grabs a ball in double coverage.
- Newton does not look comfortable. Grabbed his shoulder after being hit on the throw to Brown.
- PICK! Newton throws to Ginn, and the ball goes right through his hands and is picked off by T.J. Ward. He fumbles on the return, but it recovered by Danny Trevathan and the Broncos takes over.
- Kony Ealy with the sack of Manning. Ealy is having a really good game.
- Broncos punt.
- This Denver defense is impressive. That's now 5 sacks on the night. Carolina punting.
- End of 3rd Quarter.
- Panthers strip Manning and recover the ball. Will Newton be able to put it together now?
- Kony Ealy really is having a monster game. That's three sacks, a pick, and a forced fumble so far. According to PFF, he's played 16 snaps at this point.
- Panthers move down the field, but settle for another field goal. Now 16-10 with Denver still leading.
- Marshawn Lynch appears to have tweeted his retirement during the Super Bowl in the most Marshawn Lynch way possible:
- I find it funny how many people are saying how bad the Broncos offense and Peyton Manning are right now. Is Carolina's offense lighting it up and I am missing it? Oh, there's Carolina's sixth punt of the game - but, yeah, their offense is dominating.
- Von Miller gets to Cam Newton, strips him and the Broncos recover inside the 5.
- Miller should be the MVP.
- The Broncos have to just run this ball three times. Run the clock and take the three points if you have to settle for the FG.
- Fun fact: Elway in Super Bowl XXXII: 12-for-22 for 123 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT. So far tonight, Manning: 13-for-23 for 141 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT.
- Manning actually drops back, and it's incomplete. Defensive holding on the Panthers. Automatic 1st down.
- TOUCHDOWN! Broncos. C.J. Anderson scores. Broncos go for two. Manning passes to Bennie Fowler for the conversion. Denver 24-10.
- DeMarcus Ware in on the sack game for a second time. Seventh time they have pulled down Newton.
- Panthers punt down two scores. Seems like a white flag.
- The Broncos run the clock down to a minute to go.
- And the Panthers cannot do anything. That's the game.
Broncos 24 - 10 Panthers
This game was not about the offenses, though Peyton Manning will rightfully get a lot of the attention. This game was all about the defense, and Von Miller was named the MVP with his six tackle, 2.5 sack performance, 1 pass defensed. This will not go down as the greatest Super Bowl, but this was actually a good game, given that it was a defensive battle from the start.
Congratulations Peyton and the Broncos!