Get your snacks and drinks sorted and settle in; Super Bowl 50 is upon us as the -5.5 favorite Carolina Panthers will go-head-to head against the underdog Denver Broncos. One of the league’s best offenses in the Panthers faces the league’s best defense in the Broncos. A rising star in Cam Newton, your league MVP, opposes Peyton Manning, who is fighting for his opportunity to retire on top. Either we’ll be ushering in a changing of the guard, or celebrating one of the game’s best hoisting the Lombardi in what will likely be his last call.
All eyes will be on both Newton and Manning, but the game will truly be won by defense with two teams who led the league in defensive production all season long. The Broncos defense is coming off an incredible performance in the AFC Championship game that saw the most quarterback hits since 2006, while the Panthers embarrassed a top tier offensive attack en route to earning their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Coin toss: Carolina gets to call it, they call tails. It’s tails. Carolina elects to defer, Denver will receive.
Graham Gano kicks to Andre Caldwell, and we’re underway. Caldwell takes it out to the 20 yard line where the Broncos will start their first drive.
First play is a big one, good for 18 yards to Owen Daniels.
Big play on 3rd and five, Manning finds Caldwell for a 22 yard gain and a first down. Holding called on Denver, penalty declined.
Cam Newton misses on his first pass attempt, too high, incomplete. Have to imagine it will take Newton a bit to settle down.
Looks like three and out for the Panthers, Greg Olsen just short of the first down marker. Broncos defense gives Manning the ball back in a hurry.
Broncos go three and out as well, defensive battle in the making. It may be a while before we see another score.
Jerricho Cotchery makes a circus catch that’s ruled incomplete. Replay shows control without the ball touching the ground. Panthers are challenging the ruling. If the call is reversed (which it looks like it will be), it will be a 24 yard gain for the Panthers. Referee Blake Cleteman says the ruling stands. No catch.
Newton fumbles on third and long. Von Miller credited with the strip sack, recovered by Denver for a touchdown. Broncos lead 10-0.
Ball comes out again for Carolina, but fullback Mike Tolbert recovers and manages a two yard gain.
Newton looks rattled after the strip sack. Incomplete pass to Tedd Ginn, Jr. on a pass way over his head. He was open.
Broncos manage to get to Newton and take him down for a sack on third and 8. The Panthers will have to punt again. Denver’s defense is overpowering Carolina’s offensive line. A taunting penalty on Aqib Talib gives the Panthers an unearned first down.
After a gifted first down, the Panthers still can’t move the ball and are forced to punt again. Carolina’s offense needs to find a way to settle down.
Manning is taken down by Luke Kuechly on third and three. That play didn’t have a chance. The Panthers get the ball back.
Newton finds Philly Brown for a 20 yard gain. Longest gain on the day for the Panthers so far. Newton showed nice touch on that pass.
On third and one, Newton finds Greg Olsen in the flat for a gain of 19 yards. It looks like the Panthers are getting into a rhythm and settling in.
Tedd Ginn, Jr. reels in a big catch close to the goal line. Talib gets flagged for a face mask which gives the Panthers the ball at the 1 yard line. Jonathan Stewart is up and over for a one yard touchdown run!
Ron Rivera might be forced to use his second challenge after losing the first. It appears Manning was down by contact prior to a forward pass that was incomplete. Referees having a bit of an impact early in this one.
Call is reversed, but the Panthers are officially out of challenges for the rest of the game.
A poor punt by Britton Colquitt gives the Panthers fantastic field position, starting at their own 49 yard line.
Jordan Norwood breaks a few tackles for a huge return for the Broncos. It looks like the Panthers thought he called a fair catch, but Norwood squeaked down the sideline for a 61 yard return. It’s the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.
C.J. Anderson is tackled short of the first down on 3rd and 1. It appears that the Broncos are going for it on 4th and 1, pretty aggressive play calling this early on in the game. It looks like Anderson gets the first down on a second effort, but offensive holding forces the Broncos backwards, replay 4th down. Brandon McManus comes out to try the field goal on 4th and 11. McManus is good for another three points.
One play after the Panthers avoided a near fumble, Mike Tolbert puts the ball on the ground for a second time in the game. This time, the Broncos recovered the ball for the first turnover in the contest.
C.J. Anderson with a nice piece of running good for 34 yards out to the Panthers 26 yard line.
Peyton Manning is picked off by Ealy Cony and runs up to the Panthers 39 yard line. Big turnover for Carolina to stop a driving Broncos offense.
Both punters might be contenders for Super Bowl 50 MVP if both of these defenses keep playing this way.
Devin Funchess goes way up and snags the ball to convert on 3rd down for 24 yards. Panthers need to hurry up for a chance to score before the first half ends. 3rd and 3 and Newton carries the ball for a first down. Carolina takes their final time out of the half with 18 seconds left. 10 more yards would put the Panthers in field goal position.
A big sack by DeMarcus Ware on 2nd and 10 will end the half. He absolutely blind-sided Newton which may have saved the Broncos points before the half.
HALF TIME SCORE: Broncos 13, Panthers 7
Carolina gets the ball to start the half and gets right to work. Ted Ginn. Jr gets his first catch of the night good for 45 yards.
After a promising start to the opening drive of the second half, the Panthers will have to settle for a field goal attempt. Graham Gano lines up for the 44 yard attempt and it’s NO good, off the right upright. Score remains 13-7 for Denver.
Broncos take over possession at their own 34 yard line.
Emmanuel Sanders is wide open and makes the catch for 22 yards. Broncos have the ball inside the Panther’s 20 yard line.
Broncos can’t punch it in and have to settle for three points. McManus knocks it through to increase Denver’s lead, 16-7.
Huge play for Philly Brown who goes up for the jump ball and comes down with a 42 yard grab. Newton starting to find his receivers downfield.
DeMarcus Ware in Newton’s face and forces the incompletion. Play action may not be the best course of action against Denver’s pass rush.
Cam Newton intercepted by T.J. Ward, who promptly fumbles! Denver manages to recover as Danny Trevathan picks up the ball and maintains possession for the Broncos.
Kony Ealy notches his second sack of the game and forces the Broncos into a 3rd and 17 situation. Ronnie Hillman doesn’t come close to getting the first down and forces Denver to punt deep in their own territory. This should give good field position to the Panthers.
The Broncos defense forces yet another punt by the Panthers. That’s the fifth sack on Cam Newton in the game. Manning will take over for Denver at their own 32 yard line.
SCORE: Denver 16, Carolina 7
Both offenses using the short timing routes to neutralize the pass rush on defense. Sanders catches a pass on a quick slant route and the refs tack on a 15 yard personal foul for slapping the ball out of Sanders’ hands. Net gain of 31 yards on the play.
Manning has the ball stripped just as he was about to throw. Kony Ealy makes another big play to strip the ball as the Panthers recover for their second turnover of the game.
Ealy has three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble on the game. MVP?
Big third down conversion attempt incomplete as Ted Ginn, Jr. couldn’t haul in the pass. It looks like there may have been contact on the play but no call. Graham Gano comes out to attempt the field goal and makes this one. Carolina still trails, 16-10. That missed field goal earlier in the game could come back to haunt the Panthers.
The Panthers get the ball back with 9 minutes left to play in regulation. They’re running out of time to close the gap. A nice long drive would be huge for Carolina right here.
And just like that, the Panthers are forced to punt again. The Broncos secondary is just not allowing anything to get behind them. After the punt, Manning takes over at their own 25 yard line.
Shocking to see yet another punt in this game. The Panthers take over at their own 24 after the Denver punt goes out of bounds. Carolina has three time outs with just under five minutes remaining.
On 3rd and 9, Von Miller knocks the ball out of Cam Newton’s hand. It’s recovered by Denver’s T.J. Ward. Denver takes over inside the Panthers’ 4 yard line.
C.J. Anderson barrels into the end zone for the first offensive touchdown for the Broncos on the night after a defensive holding penalty on the Panthers Josh Norman gives Denver a fresh set of downs.
Broncos go for two and convert. Denver up, 24-10 with 3:08 to go. A comeback for the Panthers is starting to look unlikely.
Newton sacked yet again, getting pushed back to the Panthers’ five yard line. Carolina’s offensive line has been downright offensive all night long.
With under two minutes to play, it’s looking like the underdog Denver Broncos will be Super Bowl 50 champions.
That’s it folks, the Gatorade has been spilled and the Denver Broncos are your Super Bowl 50 champions.
FINAL SCORE: DENVER, 24, CAROLINA, 10