Denver’s defense propels Broncos to Super Bowl victory over Carolina

Stefano Rivera/ Contributing Writer

Cam Newton had no comments after the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10, taking home the Vince Lombardi trophy home for the first time since 1998.

Although my prediction of Carolina winning 31-23 was completely off, I had one thing right: Denver could make this game interesting if its league leading defense performed to its fullest. Boy did it ever.

On Carolina’s second possession, the Broncos scored off Von Miller’s strip sack, as teammate, Malik Jackson, scooped the ball right on the goal line. Miller, rightfully so, ended up winning the super bowl’s Most Valuable Player, finishing with six tackles, including 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

The Broncos’ defense flustered Cam Newton in many ways. I thought Newton would have been able to adapt to the Denver defense. However, it’s the inability for opposing offenses to adapt that makes this defense so elite. Sure, the Carolina’s road to the Super Bowl included Seattle and Arizona, two solid defensive teams, but Newton seemed to defeat them with such ease.

If you haven’t seen how Newton faired against Denver, he finished 18/41 for 265 yards and an interception. Not good numbers for the NFL’s MVP. Although he struggled passing the pigskin, I’ll give him some credit for using his feet throughout the first half. Newton was Carolina’s leading rusher, finishing with 45 yards.

One reason why the Panthers had difficulties running the football was because of a minor injury to Jonathan Stewart. I think most of the credit must be given to Denver’s ability to stop the run, however, having Stewart jumping in and out of the lineup hurt Carolina. He did jump the pile for a goal line touchdown but only finished with 12 carries and 29 yards. Backup running back, Mike Tolbert, committed a costly turnover on one of his five carries.

This game wasn’t for the people who love thrilling, high-scoring outcomes. Even I thought this game was boring at times, just like the majority of the commercials this year. Pretty upsetting if you ask me. I’d prefer a 50-20 blowout than a defensive battle consisting of many turnovers.

Denver’s offense struggled, finishing with under 200 yards of total offense, becoming the first team to win a super bowl with such numbers. Peyton Manning only totalled 141 yards and an interception. However, running back CJ Anderson was their saving grace, finishing with 90 yards and a touchdown off 23 carries.

Those numbers aren’t too fancy, but he was an important part of the offense in the beginning of the game. Anderson got stuffed various times, but ran off big chunks of yards at some points of the game to help initiate drives.

Carolina’s defense did what it had to do, limiting the Broncos to such low yardage totals. Another elite defense throughout the season, the Panthers just didn’t make the eye-popping plays needed to outduel Denver’s defense.

Panther’s linebacker, Thomas Davis is a heck of an athlete. Two weeks from fracturing his arm, he finished the super bowl with seven total tackles and a tackle for loss. Fellow linebacker, Luke Kuechly added 10 total tackles and a sack.

Honestly, I have no clue why I thought this game would be in the mid 20s and low 30s. Two of the league’s best defenses going at it, so you’d think I’d lower my predicted score, right? Nope.

Anyways, aside from that my other predictions were on point…..if you swap the teams and players. Newton was the one who ended up with 35+ pass attempts, not Manning. It was Denver’s defense that set up the offense with short fields, not Carolina’s. It was Carolina that struggled to run the football, not Denver. But not many people thought Denver would pull this off.

I was happy with the teams playing in this year’s super bowl. My favorite teams, the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, unfortunately, weren’t playing so I didn’t have any pressure. Also, not having to root against the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks was a positive for me.

The end results for the quarterbacks were completely different. As we all anticipate, Manning looks like he will be retiring at the end of the season, so this was possibly his final shot at winning the big game. After capturing his second ring, this is just the icing on the cake on an already terrific career.

As for Newton, I think he will have multiple chances at another super bowl. In fact, I believe the Panthers can be heavy favorites for next year’s season. The sky’s the limit for Newton, as long as he learns from his mistakes and becomes stronger.

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