Super Bowl 50 brought together the two best teams during the regular season, for what became a defensive showdown. Peyton Manning’s Broncos took on Cam Newton’s Panthers in what became a defensive showdown. Super Bowl 50 saw the largest age gap between two quarterbacks: a 39-year-old Manning played in his fourth super bowl, while Newton at 26, played in his first.
The Panthers won the toss and elected to defer until the second half. The Broncos took the first drive down into Panthers territory and came away with a 34-yard field goal from Brandon McManus. The Panthers then got the ball back and went three and out. Newton did not start off well only completing one of his first seven pass attempts. The next Panthers drive ended on a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by the Broncos’ defensive tackle, Malik Jackson. Outside linebacker, Von Miller rushed off the end and wrapped up Newton and then forced the ball out as it rolled to the one-yard line before Jackson was able to recover it.
Two Panthers’ drives later, the Panthers put it together going nine plays and covering 73 yards. The drive was capped off by Panthers’ running back Jonathan Stewart diving over the goal line for a one-yard touchdown. The next biggest play came after the Panthers’ punter, Brad Nortman, kicked the ball to the twenty. The Panthers’ cover team was afraid of getting penalized for kick-catch interference, and let returner Jarius Norwood take the punt back 61 yards to the Carolina 14-yard line. The Broncos were not able to get anything going and were forced to kick a field goal.
The Broncos and Panthers then traded turnovers. Full back Mike Tolbert coughed up the ball after being hit by Broncos’ safety Darian Stewart. Then, Manning was picked off by Carolina defensive end Kony Ealy. There was no more scoring in the half.
Coldplay started off the halftime show and was later joined by Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. It was a diverse collaboration of musical artists and they ended with the theme of believing in love. It was a colorful performance with a wide variety of Coldplay’s music to “Uptown Funk” and Beyoncé’s “Formation.”
The Panthers received the second half kickoff and drove down to the Broncos’ 26-yard line. Kicker Graham Gano kicked a field goal that bounced off of the right upright and was no good. The Broncos then took over. The drive ended with a McManus field goal and the Broncos were up 16-7.
Newton then lead the Panthers again deep into Broncos territory. It was then when the Broncos’ defense stepped up again. Newton under pressure threw a pass over the middle intended for Ted Ginn only to pick intercepted by safety TJ Ward. The Broncos and Panthers then traded punts.
Early in the fourth quarter, Panthers’ defensive end Ealy stripped Peyton Manning and the Panthers took over at mid field. The Panthers were finally able to get points again off the leg of Gano who made a 39-yard field goal. The next biggest play happened late in the fourth quarter with the score 16-10. Newton dropped back only to be strip sacked by none other than Von Miller again. Broncos’ running back CJ Anderson then took the ball in from two yards out and then Manning threw a two-point conversion to Bennie Fowler.
The Panthers continued to be walloped by the Broncos’ pass rush, and they took home the 50th super bowl 24-10. Von Miller rightfully earned the MVP award for his 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Manning may come back for another year, but if he does not, he ended on a high note.