Defense wins championships. That was the case in Super Bowl 50, a gritty defensive battle between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Thanks to a historic defense that forced four turnovers and pressured Carolina quarterback Cam Newton all game, Denver won its third Super Bowl, 24-10.
Denver took control early by scoring a touchdown on a fumble recovery, giving them a 10-0 lead. Von Miller, who caused that play with an amazing strip-sack and was later named Super Bowl MVP, was in Newton’s face all game, registering 2.5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. The Broncos kept the Panthers’ running game in check, while Denver’s secondary blanketed Newton’s options downfield. Carolina struggled all game, with the receivers dropping passes, the offensive line providing no protection, and Newton missing open targets.
Despite the miscues, the Panthers were only down by six points in the fourth quarter. On third-and-long, Cam Newton dropped back to pass, but Miller knocked the ball out of Newton’s hand and the Broncos recovered. A C.J. Anderson rushing touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion put Denver up 24-10 and essentially ended any chance of a comeback.
Entering the game, the main storyline was Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who was expected to retire after Super Bowl 50. Manning didn’t have an MVP-caliber performance, throwing an interception and losing a fumble while only throwing for 141 yards. In whole, the Denver offense wasn’t impressive and totaled 194 yards on offense, the lowest for a winning team in Super Bowl history.
With the dominance of the Denver defense, the lackluster offensive effort was enough. Manning won his second Super Bowl and became the first NFL player to win 200 games. “It was probably his last game and he deserved it,” freshman Nick Gracyalny said about Manning.
The Broncos came in as heavy underdogs, but it didn’t matter. Denver won the turnover battle (+2) and made plays on special teams, including three field goals and a record 61-yard punt return by Jordan Norwood. Carolina, a league-best 17-1 before Sunday’s game, didn’t lead at any point in the game for the first time this season.
Whether watching from home or at a Super Bowl party, students enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday, even if it didn’t live up to all of the hype. Lady Gaga provided a memorable rendition of the National Anthem and Coldplay, Beyoncé, and Bruno Mars headlined an exciting halftime show. “I liked that they pulled a lot of stars,” senior Mike Myers said. “It was entertaining.”
Of course, viewers also paid attention to the ads. The advertisements, which cost a record $5 million for 30 seconds, ranged from hilarious to head-scratching. The Doritos ad “Ultrasound” and “The Longest Chase” from Toyota were among the fan favorites.
For Broncos fans, the emotions of finally winning the Big Game were overwhelming. “I’d never seen the Broncos win the Super Bowl,” freshman Ashwin Raju, a lifelong Broncos fan, said. “I couldn’t stop smiling until the morning.”
PUBLISHED IN COMMON SENSE NEWSPAPER