The orange confetti rained down on Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos as they soaked in the reality of winning the Super Bowl.
On the other side, Cam Newton and the Panthers looked on at what might have been. The best defense in the NFL collided with the one loss Panthers, and for the third year in a row defense was the game changer. The last time Peyton was in the Super Bowl, his Broncos were overwhelmed and embarrassed by that year’s best defense, the Seattle Seahawks. The Broncos learned from that game and strengthened their defense and it was the biggest story of Super Bowl 50.
From the start of the game, DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller put pressure on Cam Newton. The Panthers had not seen that kind of pressure all season. Cam never looked comfortable in the pocket, and ended up being sacked six times. His ability as a dual threat quarterback was stifled by Denver’s front seven. He had no where to run, and when he scrambled to look for the pass he was most often sacked or brought down close to the line of scrimmage. His passes were often overthrown, but there were some instances when his receivers should have caught the ball and they dropped it. His expression out on the field was something I had never seen while watching Cam play this season. Instead of his usual joy and confidence, he looked stressed and tired. However, Cam is only 26 and has many more years to get back to the Super Bowl.
While Cam was far from his best, Peyton was no stud either. However, he did not have to be. He only threw for 141 yards, and threw an interception but no touchdown. Still, for a man about to be 40 years old it’s impressive that he can go out and play reasonably well against one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses.
The biggest play of the game was a defensive play for Denver. They had Cam pinned back near his own end zone, and then Von Miller stripped the ball away from Cam. The ball bounced into the end zone and Malik Jackson was there to fall on it and secure the touchdown.
The Broncos ended up on top 24-10, and it was cool to see the legend Peyton Manning go out on top since it is likely that he’ll soon be retiring. While Cam was not able to lead the Panthers to victory, hope is not lost. It looks like we are just seeing the beginning of what the Panthers can be. This game did not have the kind of offense that a Super Bowl merits, but it did include one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game and a glimpse into the newer style running quarterback. Peyton will not be dabbin’ anytime soon, but he definitely is celebrating with his second Super Bowl ring.