Dominating defense leads Denver to 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50

Collegian Sports

The Denver Broncos didn’t need dabs, trash talk or bravado Sunday. 

Its dominating defense and a solid performance from Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning were plenty.

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Led by its bullying defensive line, Denver frustrated MVP Cam Newton and the highly-powered Carolina Panthers offense en route to a 24-10 win in Super Bowl 50 Sunday night in Santa Clara, California. 

Manning finished an unremarkable 13 of 23 for 141 yards and one interception, but Miller and Co. forced four fumbles and sacked Newton seven times in one of the most dominant performances in the Super Bowl era. 

Denver started nearly as well as it could have hoped, moving methodically down the field on a 10-play, 64-yard drive capped by a 34-yard field goal from Brandon McManus. 

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Denver Broncos wide receiver Jordan Norwood (11) returns a punt for a game-record 61 yards during the first half against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/TNS)

On its first drive, Carolina thought it had picked up a key first down, but wide receiver Jericho Cotchery dropped a perfect ball from Cam Newton on a seam route. The very next play, Broncos All-Pro blew past Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers for the strip-sack, which was recovered in the end zone by defensive tackle Malik Jackson, giving Denver a 10-0 lead with 6:34 to play in the first quarter. 

After trading punts, Carolina mounted a drive of its own, moving down the field in nine plays, with running back Jonathon Stewart diving over the top of the goal line for a one-yard touchdown to bring the the Panthers within 10-7. 

Two drives later, Broncos punt returner Jordan Norwood set Denver up at at the Carolina 10-yard line after a 61-yard return, but the Broncos couldn’t convert for a touchdown, settling for another McManus field goal, this time from 33 yards.  

With a chance to extend its lead to two touchdowns, Denver turned the ball over for the only time all game when Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy made an acrobatic, one-handed interception of Peyton Manning. Carolina couldn’t convert though, and Denver took a 13-7 lead into halftime. 

Carolina couldn’t catch a break out of halftime, driving all the way to the Denver 26, but Graham Gano’s 44-yard field goal bounced off the left upright and out. 

Another Broncos drive saw Denver drive to the Carolina 12-yard line, but after an 5-yard offsides penalty on Carolina, Denver couldn’t gain another yard, settling for a 30-yard McManus field goal to give Denver a 16-7 lead with 8:18 to play in the third quarter. 

The Panthers wouldn’t go lightly, though, forcing a fumble on the Broncos’ first drive of the fourth quarter, adding a Gano field goal to cut the deficit to 16-10 with 10:21 to go. 

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Von Miller had one more strip-sack under his belt, sacking Newton at the Carolina 9-yard line. Four plays later, CJ Anderson bulled his way in from two yards out, giving the Broncos a 24-10 lead and their third Super Bowl in team history. 

Collegian Sports Staff can be reached at sports@collegian.com.