Panthers fold to pressure of Broncos’ D, Super Bowl 50

superbowl50The Carolina Panthers’ amazing season landed with a thud in Super Bowl 50, losing to the Denver Broncos 24-10 in a performance that was the antithesis of their near-perfect year.

Carolina quarterback and NFL MVP Cam Newton was under heavy pressure from the start as the Panthers (17-2) yielded seven sacks and four turnovers – three by Newton and one by Coastal Carolina product Mike Tolbert. Carolina, which had committed a league-low 19 turnovers coming into the game, also was flagged for 12 penalties and 102 yards.

The Panthers repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, beginning with the first of two Von Miller strips of Newton. The Super Bowl MVP sacked Newton and ripped the ball free as Denver defensive end Malik Jackson fell on it in the end zone for a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.

Clinging to a 16-10 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Broncos finally put the game away when Miller’s third sack forced another fumble by Newton that was recovered by safety T.J. Ward at the Panthers’ 4-yard line. C.J. Anderson ran into the end zone from two yards out for the Broncos’ clinching touchdown.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl at 39, was asked about his anticipated decision to retire. Manning declined to make an announcement in the moment. Broncos general manager John Elway retired after leading Denver to back-to-back championships in the 1997 and 1998 seasons. The latter was Manning’s rookie year.

Carolina scored its touchdown in the second quarter following a 73-yard drive in the second quarter, with running back Jonathan Stewart leaping over the line from the 1-yard line. But there was little else to cheer about in an uncharacteristic outing for the Panthers. Newton completed only 17 of 40 passes for 259 yards, while Manning was 13 of 23 for 142 yards.

Photo courtesy of NFL

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