Shotgun Reaction to Super Bowl 50.
Denver Broncos 24 vs. Carolina Panthers 10
- Peyton Manning managed not to lose it; aside from the opening drive it was pretty ugly considering his 13 of 23, 141 yards, 1 INT, sacked 5 times, 1 lost fumble performance; credit the Panthers defense. The Broncos were 1 for 14 on third down and only managed 194 total yards. Bottom line “The Sheriff” gets ring #2 but please, please spare us from having to watch your body and performance deteriorate any further.
- Cam Newton IS human; the league MVP struggled mightily to an 18 of 41, 265 yards, 1 INT sacked 6 times, 2 lost fumbles performance; the Broncos defense was dominant; Newton’s inaccuracy which had not been an issue all season reared its ugly head and a litany of drops didn’t help matters; Cam took a beating, he was visibly and audibly frustrated and dejected; it was a thorough beat down.
- C.J. Anderson was the offensive MVP of the game (23/90/1); his 34-yard scamper and 1-yard TD plunge where his most memorable carries but he provided the balance the Broncos desperately needed.
- Jonathan Stewart was ineffective against the Broncos’ stifling run defense (12/29/1); the Panthers simply didn’t have the talent on the outside to win this game without a strong J-Stew performance.
- Demariyus Thomas… Who? 1 catch for 8 yards on six targets; rough playoff stretch but he’s a champion. Emmanuel Sanders came to play (6/83); but then again he didn’t draw Josh Norman.
- The speed of Corey Brown (4/80) and Ted Ginn Jr. (4/74) was evident but they simply don’t have large enough catch radiuses when the DBs plaster; the usually sure-handed Jerricho Cotchery dropped about three passes, no bueno; Greg Olsen 4/41 was neutralized kudos to Wade Phillips mixing up the coverage against him; Phillips called a hell of a game and his horses on D executed nearly to perfection.
- The Broncos o-line struggled in pass pro; not a surprise; but they opened a few running lanes against Kawan Short and Star Lotulelei; that WAS a surprise; Lotulelei had quite the game nevertheless.
- I can’t say enough about how well the Carolina Panthers offensive line played this season; thought they were the weakest link, even weaker than the receiving corps. sans Kelvin Benjamin but they were a position of strength collectively; NOT so much in Super Bowl 50; thoroughly outplayed, physically whipped and overmatched athletically; no running game and even a healthy Cam Newton was a sitting duck.
- Kony Ealy’s 3 sacks and an impressive interception rounded out quite an individual performance; Ealy’s stock is on the rise; even if Jared Allen returns Ealy’s playing time is sure to continue to grow; Charles Johnson, Short, Lotulelei and Ealy… scary good.
- The unsung heroes of the Broncos defense deserve love; Derek Wolfe, Sylvester Williams and Malik Jackson were phenomenal; stingy against the run, collapsing the pocket with a disciplined interior rush and controlling the line of scrimmage; at the second level Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan filled rushing lanes, made plays in man-to-man coverage and flowed sideline-to-sideline much like there more ballyhooed counterparts Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis; who is Darian Stewart? I’m not sure but he may have had the best game among all the Broncos defensive backs.
- Luke Kuechly is a problem; he’s everywhere; led all players with 10 tackles; looked to wear down late as the Panthers weren’t able to stay on the field offensively; Thomas Davis is a warrior; did you see those stitches in his broken arm? There’s a metal plate right below the skin…. gross.
- Von Miller… MVP, 6 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2 fumbles forced not to mention he made open field tackles dropped into coverage and made plays all over the field; it was a transcendent performance and deserving of MVP honors; Demarcus Ware and Wade Phillips are a match made in heaven; the veteran turned back the clock with 5 tackles and 2 sacks; D. WARE now adds a Super Bowl ring to his Hall of Fame credentials.
- Josh Norman did a good job in coverage; blanketed Demariyus Thomas but he dropped at least 2 INTs; he had opportunities to make splash plays and failed to do so.
- The BIG $$$ DBs for the Bronocos did what they do best man-up in coverage; Aqib Talib had a rough start but settled in; meanwhile Chris Harris Jr. and T.J. Ward challenged the Panthers and made life hard on Cam Newton.
The Panthers lost the Special Teams battle, committed more penalties, couldn’t run the football, couldn’t protect their quarterback. Do the math. Game ball goes to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for putting his talented defense in position for success. Carolina is going to be good for a long time as long as they keep Cam upright. The Broncos defense is good enough for another Super Bowl run but who will be their signal caller?