For Peyton Manning, Von Miller and the Broncos, it was the same game they played all season long. The defense was dominant. The offense was mostly ineffective. Sacks and turnovers told the tale.
And the Broncos sacked Cam Newton seven-John-Elway times.
Greatest. Defense. Of. All. Time.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) February 8, 2016
The Broncos took a 3-0 lead early they wouldn't relent, but it wasn't until the 4th quarter that the lead became comfortable. A third Miller sack (and second forced fumble) resulted in Denver's first offensive touchdown of the game, and the Broncos took a 24-10 lead they wouldn't relent.
Von Miller was officially named Super Bowl 50 MVP shortly after the game for his Kryptonite-like performance against Cam "Superman" Newton and the Panthers offense.
Miller, Derek Wolfe, and T.J. Ward matched the Panthers and exceed their big defensive plays in what has to be considered one of the least explosive Super Bowls, offensively, in recent memory. The Broncos sacked Newton five times before the start of the 4th quarter (Miller had two), while T.J. Ward's interception proved massive.
The Broncos defense dominated the Panthers just like they had Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Tom Brady and the Patriots, and just about every quarterback and offense they faced this season. This 2015 edition of the Orange Crush will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest NFL defenses of all time.
Lady Gaga's national anthem brought the house down. If you bet the over, you came home rich, but either way, everyone was satisfied with the amazing rendition, the best since Whitney Houston's in the 1990's.
The fly-by was perfectly time and epic as well.
The Panthers won the coin toss, tossed by Joe Montana, and deferred. Broncos football. Here.... we.... go!
The first snap? No problem.
From there, the Broncos would take control in the first quarter. Peyton Manning hit Owen Daniels and Andre Caldwell for 18 and 22-yard gains respectively in the first drive. Ultimately the drive stalled in the red zone, and the Broncos settled for a Brandon McManus field goal. Broncos 3, Panthers 0.
Two drives later, it was Von Miller making his presence felt as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 Draft met the No. 1 pick. Miller strip-sacked Cam Newton, and Malik Jackson beat a footrace against DeMarcus Ware to recover the loose football in the end zone. The fumble-six led to the Broncos taking a commanding Broncos 10, Panther 0 lead midway through Q1.
The Panthers and Broncos then traded punts - Denver's dominant defense nearly recovered another forced fumble - before the first quarter wound down. It was at the start of Q2 that Newton and company found some momentum, thanks to an Aqib Talib personal foul penalty that would be the first of three fouls the Broncos cornerback would commit before halftime.
Newton and company were able to finish the drive four a touchdown thanks to a high-flying jump from Jonathan Stewart- the only offensive touchdown of the first half - to make it Panthers 7, Broncos 10.
The Broncos then went three and out again, relenting their third straight punt, and making it difficult for their defense to catch a breath. But Denver's defense wasn't fooled by a tricky flea-flicker look on 2nd down, successfully tackling Ted Ginn Jr. for four (which counted as Denver's third sack). An incomplete later, it was Jordan Norwood Super Bowl-history-making time.
61-yd punt return by Broncos WR @JordaNorwood is the longest in Super Bowl history.— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) February 8, 2016
The Broncos had 1st and 10 in the red zone, but the offense continued to struggle. On 4th and 1, the Broncos went for it, but a holding penalty against Louis Vasquez negated the converted try. McManus was called upon again, and the Broncos took a 13-7 lead.
After another defensive smackdown by the Broncos, Peyton Manning coughed it up.
Denver's defense wouldn't allow the Panthers to take advantage though, with poor clock management by Carolina aiding Denver's defense. DeMarcus Ware sacked Cam Newton to force halftime.
Coldplay kicked things off on a giant swirling Pepsi logo before things got good. Bruno Mars got funky with it, then Beyonce took over with a quick snippet of her hot-sauce-in-her-purse new single.
I wasn't loving it personally, but then Coldplay's montage-backed rendition of "Fix You" with Beyonce and Mars singing along hit the feels. Solid Super Bowl halftime show.
Believe in Love pic.twitter.com/Wp3thmoEnG— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 8, 2016
The Broncos entered the second half with 71.3% win probability; the Panthers would receive the 2nd half kickoff with their sights set on changing that. Cam Newton found Ted Ginn for the biggest play from scrimmage so far, a 45-yard strike after Denver's blitz failed to find Newton. But the drive ultimately stalled, and Graham Gano missed his field goal attempt with a doink, so Broncos maintained their 13-7 lead.
On the next drive, Manning finally got Emmanuel Sanders involved. A 25-yard pass preceded a 22-yard gain from Manning to Sanders, but the Broncos' drive stalled in the red zone, even after facing 1st and 5 thanks to a Panthers' neutral zone infraction penalty. Unlike Ga-no-good, Brandon McManus was solid, and it was Broncos 16, Panthers 7 midway through Q3.
Newton and company started to find a rhythm, with Carolina's threat-of-the-run keeping Denver's pass rush from truly pinning their ears back and rushing the League MVP. On one play, Shane Ray delayed his pass rush a solid two seconds until he was certain Newton was passing; 42 yards-to-Ginn later, his rush was clearly too late. But T.J. Ward would bail out the Broncos, and Danny Trevathan would bail out Ward in turn, as Ward intercepted Newton but fumbled the football.
The interception from Cam Newton's view pic.twitter.com/grY71edSwq— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) February 8, 2016
The Broncos offense wouldn't do anything with that turnover though, and Denver's defense continued to be forced to carry the team.
Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and company continued to hassle Newton. The Panthers had to strip-sack Manning to get decent enough field position for a field goal, which they made this time to make it Panthers 10, Broncos 16.
Denver's offense went 3-and-out again, then the Super Bowl MVP took over. Miller strip-sacked Cam Newton again, and this time Manning and C.J. Anderson were able to punch it in. Peyton Manning then hit Bennie Fowler for the two-point conversion to make it Broncos 24, Panthers 10, and a white-flag punt later, the Broncos were effectively Super Bowl champions.
The Broncos didn't need Manning to win Super Bowl 50; Manning needed the Broncos. He needed Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and this ferocious Denver D. John Elway's orchestration paid off. The Broncos are champions again!