I decided to write my recap as soon as possible because there is nothing like analysis without taking time to sort things out.
Denver Broncos 24 Carolina Panthers 10
Stated as simply as I can, Denver’s dominant defense owned the line of scrimmage and they allowed their flawed offense to succeed. Carolina entered the game with plenty of bravado and too little experience. They made little mistakes throughout the game and they didn’t make the big plays after beating two excellent teams (Arizona and Seattle).
I’m not sure where this Super Bowl will rank on a list of my favorites, probably pretty low. I am not a fan of either team and thought the hype leading into the game was predictably mundane. The storyline that focused on whether Denver could stop Cam Newton was clearly wrong. The question should have been, can Cam score on Denver’s defense? The answer was obvious to anyone who watched the game.
The Denver defense, led by Von Miller (the Super Bowl MVP), tormented the Panthers the entire game. The Broncos offense gained 194 yards (the fewest by any winning team in Super Bowl history) and won by two touchdowns. Newton was inaccurate and was pummeled by Denver. He was sacked six times and took a countless number of hits. Newton fumbled twice and threw an interception. Newton, however, certainly not solely responsible for the Panthers’ loss. The Panthers dropped plenty of passes and their offensive line struggled all game. Carolina fumbled four times (losing three of them), missed a field goal, and committed 12 penalties.
Denver’s offense was ineffective and scored points only when given a favorable situation. Peyton Manning finished with 141 passing yards and one interception. Denver did what they had to do and their defense carried them to a victory. I thought the experience they gained two years ago (albeit in a loss to Seattle) was valuable. Carolina looked shaky and Denver seemed to have a sharper mindset.
- Von Miller deserved the Super Bowl MVP and I’m relieved that they didn’t give the award to anyone else (read: Peyton Manning). Miller was dominant with 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and he forced 2 fumbles. He’s the man and should be talked about as one of the top players in the NFL.
- Peyton Manning should be playing his last game, so I’m glad I got to see him go out as a Super Bowl winner. He’s never been one of my favorite players, but I respect him a great deal. John Elway gets a ring and he won’t have to worry about pushing out Manning after the season.
- Cam Newton should have given better effort to recover his last fumble of the game. I don’t know if he would have been able to recover it or not (Sam and I discussed this) and perhaps he thought one of the guys on the field was already in possession of the ball. Jim Nantz hinted that perhaps a shoulder injury (left shoulder) was the reason he didn’t go after the ball. In conclusion to this irrelevant piece of the game, he should’ve at least gone after the ball and put forth some better effort. It wouldn’t have changed the game because Carolina wasn’t scoring on Denver.
- Newton probably should’ve gotten the roughing the passer call against Derek Wolfe. In the regular season, a quarterback will almost always get the call. If you’re Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, etc. then you will get that call no matter what. Newton didn’t get the call and it was irrelevant to the game. I think you’d like for the game to be officiated the same way no matter what the context of the play is, however, the refs weren’t throwing that flag.
- Carolina’s defense deserves a lot of credit and played very well. They allowed only 194 yards and had five sacks. Josh Norman and Kony Ealy were the best players on the field for Carolina. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis were also impressive.