Super Bowl 50: The Panthers end the game panting

The team that seemingly could do no wrong all year, could do no right.

After a season of championship promise, the 17-1 Panthers beat themselves on the biggest stage in the world. The Panthers uncharacteristically turned the ball over four times. Of course the Broncos defense deserves a huge amount of credit, totaling seven sacks, tying the Super Bowl record. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was being pressured and crushed the whole night, fumbling twice and forcing a bad interception.

“We are never going to win a football game with four turnovers,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said during a postgame press conference. “Overall we just had way too many mistakes.”

Although Newton, the MVP of the team, will take all of the blame right on the chin; it was a majority of the Panthers team that just did not show up to play. Aside from the four turnovers, the Panthers committed 12 penalties. Fullback Mike Tolbert fumbled not once, but twice, after not fumbling a single time all season. Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery dropped multiple passes after not having a single drop in 2015; one was inside the 10-yard line. The other was just one play before the Von Miller strip sack returned for a touchdown. Ted Ginn dropped a pass right before the Newton interception. The Panthers could not handle any pressure the Broncos’ front seven put on them, even when they only sent a four man rush.

The offensive blunders made by the Panthers allowed the Denver Broncos to play with the lead the entire game, which benefitted their conservative offense.

Peyton Manning, the Super Bowl 50 champion Peyton Manning, looked completely different than what he used to be. In what could be Peyton’s last game,
the five time MVP only attempted 23 passes, completing 13 of them, and throwing one interception.

But the Broncos defense sabotaging the Panthers’ offensive plans allowed Manning to play safe, as he wasn’t asked to do much more than he accomplished.

The man that made the biggest difference was Super Bowl 50 MVP, Broncos’ linebacker Von Miller.

Miller was responsible 2.5 sacks, consistently drawing double team assignments from the Panthers’ offensive line. However, his biggest contributions were forcing two fumbles. The first one bull-rushing and ripping the ball, (and the heart) out of Cam Newton.

The ball tumbled its way into the end zone and Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson fell on top of it. The Broncos took a 10-0 lead, and the Panthers simply never looked like the same team that completed a near perfect season.

During the second quarter, Panthers’ running back Jonathan Stewart jumped into the end zone, making the score 13-7.

Two field goals later, the Broncos took a 16-7 lead into the fourth quarter. After missing one earlier in the game, Panthers’ kicker Graham Gano kicked a 39 yard field goal to make it a one score game.

On a last ditch effort to steal one from the Broncos, Cam Newton and the Panthers offense took the field down by only 6 points. Then the walking sack machine we call Von Miller made Cam Newton pay, again tearing the ball from his hands, setting up Broncos running back C.J. Anderson for a score just four plays later.

Cam Newton couldn’t dance and give footballs away to fans. We did get to see Cam dab. And in fact, the Panthers looked backwards all night. So the best adjective to use to describe the Panthers’ offense during Super Bowl 50 would be bad.