Remember when the Denver Broncos played in Super Bowl 48 a few years ago? No? Well, no one, other than the Broncos nation does. In that game, Seattle overwhelmed Manning and company, leading to a 43-8 debacle in favor of the Seahawks. The game left questions in the football universe regarding the Broncos as a team, and what was left of the Hall of Fame quarterback’s career.
The motivation to right the wrong from two years ago was enough fuel for the Broncos this time around in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos had reached the big game once again, but with fans, commentators and analysts around the world giving them a slim chance this go around, would they have redemption against the young, athletic, seemingly superior Carolina Panthers?
Even though Manning and Newton didn’t tally a Quarterback Rating higher than 15, the defense of the Broncos provided the spark that the team needed and made Newton’s life miserable. For the Broncos, Super Bowl 50 consisted of defensive efficiency and hustle plays that ultimately determined the outcome of this historic game, resulting in a convincing Broncos 24-10 win.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was sacked a total of six times, threw one interception, and was 16-41 from the field. He threw for a grand total of 265 yards, which will not get the job done against the defensive unit of Demarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, Malik Jackson, and Von Miller.
In Newton’s defense, he went up against this style of defense with no help from any of his receivers. Ted Ginn Jr. was a “no-show,” not even having a single football thrown to him (credit the Denver defense), TE Greg Olsen was the recipient of four receptions for a minuscule 41 yards that produced not even a FG attempt for the young core. Newton didn’t even “dab” in the endzone after their first and only touchdown which cut the Bronco lead to 13-7 right before halftime. That’s when fans everywhere knew, it was going to be a long, dreadful night for the Panthers.
The Panthers’ first drive resulted in a fumble inside their own 10 yard line as MVP Von Miller rushed to Newton like a freight train, forcing Newton to fumble the football into the end zone. Malik Jackson dove on top of it to give the Broncos a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
Von Miller came in clutch again in the Fourth quarter when the score was 16-10 Broncos and the Panthers had possession of the football, looking to take the lead late. Miller ran up behind Newton and stripped the football out of his hands causing a game-clinching fumble. TJ Ward recovered Newton’s fumble, leading to a 22-10 lead for Denver.
Instead of kicking the extra point, Manning ended the Panthers’ hopes of a comeback by throwing a sharp, accurate pass to Bennie Fowler for a two point conversion to make the final score 24-10.
Von Miller was awarded the Super Bowl MVP for his six tackles, two and a half sacks (2 defensive players bring down the quarterback at the same time) and two forced fumbles.
Although he had no touchdown passes, the defense was able to score off of turnovers that the Panthers gave up. Manning still played decently, throwing 13-23 and collecting a total of 145 yards as a result.
Despite his low QB ranking, all eyes will be on Peyton Manning now that a second Vince Lombardi Trophy has been added to his resumé. He has accomplished more than the majority of players in this league with two championships, five MVP titles, as well as holding multiple regular season records. In fact, Manning is the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises (Colts and Broncos). He is 39 years old and is not getting any younger. His arm strength and throwing capability is not what it used to be and he is prone to injury at any moment.
I think he should retire now. He should ride into the sunset on his bronco while at the head of the pack. He is a winner, a leader, and a great mentor to the new generation that is on the rise. The Broncos organization is said to believe that Manning will hang up the cleats, but no official announcement has been made.