Broncos Defense Shuts Down Panthers In Super Bowl 50
Peyton Manning will get most of the headlines for Super Bowl 50, but the Denver defense made sure he rode off into the sunset in style.
Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and the rest of the Broncos corralled Cam Newton and limited the Panthers to a single offensive touchdown and forcing four turnovers. The best unit in the NFL proved that defense wins championships, and their legendary QB got to raise the Lombardi Trophy...minutes after another legendary Broncos QB got to hoist the trophy.
In John Elway's last Super Bowl, he was able to ride off as a champion. On the stage, Denver owner Pat Bowlen famously yelled, "This one's for John!" Bowlen is currently fighting a battle with health. When Elway got his chance to repay his owner, the former great QB and current GM hoisted the trophy in tribute.
"This one's for Pat," Elway yelled.
The Denver defense created four turnovers, and Von Miller (2.5 sacks), the game's MVP, harassed Cam Newton all game. His strip-sack on Newton in the first half, recovered by Malik Jackson, gave Denver the spark they needed to start their Super Bowl fire.
Offensively, the Broncos only scored a single touchdown. Peyton Manning's numbers weren't pretty (13/23, 141 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT), but a 24-10 victory was pretty enough for him and his head coach, Gary Kubiak.
"We call ourselves the grinders, and we grinded one more time to a championship," Kubiak said.
CJ Anderson churned out 93 yards on 23 carries behind an impressive performance from the Broncos' offensive line, but the focus was on Peyton after the game.
One of the most historic players to ever touch the gridiron wasn't going to steal the stage on the NFL's biggest night.
When the microphone was in his face and the Lombardi Trophy was in hand, Manning dodged the question about his possible retirement. If the sheriff is going to "ride off down the dusty trail," he's not going to saddle up while the confetti is still falling.
"Don't make an emotional decision. This has been a very emotional week and an emotional night and I got a couple of priorities in order," Manning said with trophy in hand. "I want to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids, I want to go celebrate with my family and teammates, and I'm going to drink a lot of beer tonight."
Super Bowl 50 was supposed to be an historic occasion, and at very least it could be the final page in Manning's NFL history book.
It was one of the best defensive performances in Super Bowl history. The Broncos sacked Newton six times, and he was hit or pressured all night long. The Panther still racked up over 300 yards in offense, but they were swimming against a strong current all game long.
Manning was still sacked five times himself, but his special teams provided a nice return and a few field goals, and Miller's strip sack ended up being the difference in the game.
Newton, Luke Kuechly, Jonathan Stewart and the rest of the Panthers will be back again to fight for another championship. We'll all find out whether Peyton Manning will be back in the rodeo for one last ride. Right now, he has some beers to drink.