The NFL’s best defense dominates, Peyton survives as the Denver Broncos claim the crown.
SUPER BOWL 50: NO EXCUSES, PLEASE, IT WAS ALL ORANGE CRUSH 2015.
With anywhere from 56 to 68 percent of the football-savvy mainstream leaning towards a Carolina victory, this game must have come as a huge shock, particularly in how easily the highest-scoring offense was contained. But (and the rest of you can say it with me) THAT’S WHY THEY PLAY THE GAMES.
Cam Newton and his merry clan of mad dabbers were held to a 1-dab minimum in Sunday’s Super Bowl, the ultimate platform for dabbing, endzone dancing, and showcasing any and all attention-getting skills. The other team — the eventual Super Bowl winners and World Champions — the Denver Broncos, chose to wait for the post-game/all-night/no-drink minimum celebration that, by the choice of some, can carry well into the next few months. Even the professionally-starched Peyton Manning proudly and publicly revealed his plans of having ‘a few beers’ well into the night in celebration. A celebration well deserved.
In all fairness, let’s squarely lay the credit where the credit is most due, the Denver defense (including the defensive staff, coordinator Wade Phillips and game plan) was superb! Defensive end Von Miller walked away with the Super Bowl MVP award but the darn thing could’ve easily gone to the entire unit. Cam appeared to have no answers or options at all. His offensive teammates failed to bring their A-game, and unlike most of the 2016 season, Cam’s shoulders just weren’t wide enough to carry them. Denver, despite losing the time-of-possession battle 32:47 to 27:13, the 1st down battle 21-11, the total plays battle 75-56, and the total yards battle by a mind-boggling 315 to a new Super Bowl low mark of 194 (includes total passing yards: 197-104, and total ground yards: 118-90), won the overall war — which for most of the game looked extremely one-sided — 24-10.
The turnover-leading Panthers reached the red zone only twice the whole game, and gave away the ball four times to the Broncos two. They doubled the Broncos’ penalty/yards at a depressing 12-for-102 yards. People (and there were many – including some you and I watched the game with, I’m sure) who thought thought Cam and the Panthers would blow their competition away had worried looks on their faces or were sliding down in their seats by mid-1st quarter because the game was taking on the appearance of a last-man-standing affair rather than the slaughter they expected. By halftime, the expression had turned to mild fear.
FIRST QUARTER: Highlighted by a 22-yard pass completion from Peyton Manning to receiver Andre Caldwell, the Broncos drove 64 yards on 10 plays, settling for a 34-yard FIELD GOAL by Brandon McManus. During the Panthers’ second possession, Von Miller forced a Cam Newton fumble and Denver’s Malik Jackson recovered the ball for a defensive TOUCHDOWN. Score: Broncos 10, Panthers 0
SECOND QUARTER: The Panthers put together a scoring drive going 73 yards on 9 plays. Highlighted by 20 and 19 yard passes to receiver Corey Brown and tight end Greg Olsen, it was finished off by a 1-yard Jonathan Stewart TOUCHDOWN. The Broncos’ Jordan Norwood set up another scoring opportunity with a 61-yard punt return that ended on the Panthers 14-yard line. But Denver failed to take advantage, settling for yet another FIELD GOAL (33-yarder) by McManus. Halftime Score: Broncos 13, Panthers 7
THIRD QUARTER: Carolina’s first possession after the half was highlighted by a 45-yard completion from Cam to Ted Ginn Jr., but they could only finish the drive with a field goal attempt by Graham Gano which hit the right upright to veer off no good. The Broncos followed with a 30-yard FIELD GOAL on a 7-play/54-yard drive that saw Emanuel Sanders catch two 20+ yard passes. Score: Broncos 16, Panthers 7
FOURTH QUARTER: After a Manning sack and fumble to end the third quarter, Carolina started at mid-field but could only manage 29 yards before settling for a 39-yard FIELD GOAL by Gano. Following consecutive punt exchanges on the next three series, Von Miller sacked Cam and was credited with both the sack and the fumble, recovered by Denver at the Panthers 19. Three plays later, running back C.J. Anderson took it in from 2 yards out (TOUCHDOWN), a successful TWO-POINT CONVERSION followed. The Panthers could not move the ball with their last two possessions for a Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory. Final Score: Broncos 24, Panthers 10
For a game highly hyped for who the quarterbacks are, both defensive sides of the ball out-performed them both. Cam Newton’s statline reads 18/45, 265 yards (6.5 yards per pass average), 0 TDs, 1 INT, and a QBR of 16.9. He was sacked 6 times and the defense disrupted another botched trick play in which Ted Ginn would be the passer. Peyton Manning did just enough to not look as bad as his statline, throwing 13/23 for 141 yards (6.1 ypp average), also 0 TDs and 1 INT with a QBR of 9.9. Both QBs fumbled twice, Cam losing both, Peyton one.
Cam was also his team’s leading rusher with 45 yards on 6 carries. C.J. Anderson led the Broncos with 90 yards on 23 carries. Ronnie Hillman added 5 carries but netted no yards and was ineffective, as was their WR1 Demaryius Thomas with his 1 catch for 8 yards. Emmanuel Sanders led with 6 receptions for 83 yards, while Corey Brown led the Panthers with 80 yards on only 4 receptions.
Carolina’s Luke Kuechly led all tacklers with 10 total, Denver’s Danny Trevathan led Denver with 8. But the star of the game, the MVP Von Miller, appeared to be everywhere and put the most pressure on Cam all game long.
IN THE END, MEN ARE MEN AND BOYS ARE JUST BOYS
Denver’s Peyton Manning was his usual professional and likable self and continues to be one of (if not the main) the league’s class acts, answering post-game questions bravely and honestly. But the next-day focus was clearly going to be on Cam Newton, who seemed annoyed and short with the media afterwards. Not the display most of us would want to see given all the attention brought upon himself all season long. He finally got up and walked off the platform early and ended the interview, opening himself up further to more criticism and scrutiny.
Say what you will about Cam, and yes, some of it is accurate and/or justified, but if you watched his exit-day interview Tuesday (less than 48 hours later), [some of]you will grow to respect and possibly admire him for his honesty in the athletic world of put your foot in your mouth today and spin it tomorrow at your agent’s advise. Cam Newton is not apologetic while realizing his mistakes. He will tell us upfront — and has — that he is a sore loser. He will be brutally honest and let the looking-glass sports public know, who are YOU and who says your way is right? Very often, the great ones are difficult to others. Jordan was. Kobe was. Tiger was. The list can go on. Not saying he has reached that level, just that he has the makings to reach that level. He is not “okay” with losing, and that’s should be okay with anyone not labeled a ‘hater’. He’s not your daddy’s or your grandfather’s quarterback. He is a product of the new social media society/pop culture that is now this world’s realty. Get used to it. Get over it. Get over yourself. He is, after all, a twenty-six year old boy. Yes, age is just a number, and the male species does mature slower than the female species. He’s just a boy. Don’t expect him to be or blame him for not being the man he’ll be in ten years. Credit him for not being the boy Manziel is and may stay for ten years.