The Dream Ends: Broncos 24, Panthers 10Courtesy NFL / February 11, 2016
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – They had time and they had their chances, but try as they might, the Carolina Panthers could not solve the disruptive Denver defense in Super Bowl 50, suffering a 24-10 defeat to the Broncos at Levi’s Stadium.
“Denver did some really good things on the defensive side of the ball and made some plays,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “Pass rush was strong for them, and unfortunately we didn’t capitalize when we got the ball down near the red zone.”
Carolina, despite all its uncharacteristic turnovers and penalties, had the ball twice trailing 16-10 in the fourth quarter.
The first time, the Panthers went three-and-out. The second time, on third-and-9, quarterback Cam Newton was strip-sacked for the second time in the game by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Safety T.J. Ward recovered the ball at the Carolina 4-yard line, leading to a game-sealing 2-yard touchdown run by running back C.J. Anderson.
“So many times things just wouldn’t go right and then we’d find our rhythm, but we couldn’t sustain it,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “It seemed like every time we settled into a rhythm and settled into a comfort zone, something else went wrong.”
Carolina produced 315 total yards compared to Denver’s 194. The Panthers had 21 first downs compared to Denver’s 11. But those stats were irrelevant in determining the outcome. Not only did the Broncos defense produce four takeaways and seven sacks, they scored one of the game’s three touchdowns.
After Denver opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal, Miller strip-sacked Newton, and defensive end Malik Jackson made the recovery in the end zone. Thanks to that defensive touchdown, the Broncos never trailed. Running back Jonathan Stewart capped a 73-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 10-7, but that was as close as Carolina got.