Super Bowl 50: Recap and Analysis

It’s a story that in many ways is too good to be true. Peyton Manning may have played his last game, and can now ride off into the sunset. [heavy.com]

SAN FRANCISCO – Super Bowl 50 was one for the history books. I thoroughly expected the Carolina Panthers to begin the game on a high note. The Panthers looked hungry all season long. They have a strong core of young playmakers poised to make a run at the title again next year. Part of having success in the playoffs comes from having been there before. For many guys on the panthers this was only their third game of playoff experience. In my opinion it boils down to this: the Panthers were playing off of what appears to be a sugar rush. The Panthers were at an all time high practically touching the stratosphere, however they failed to come back down to earth. The Broncos, on the other hand, were humbled by their whole season. The veterans knew how to communicate just how important every moment of the game is, and why it is absolutely essential to begin the game on a strong note. Peyton Manning has been down both roads now. We all remember the horrible snap from super bowl 48 that propelled the Broncos implosion. Manning desperately needed to win this super bowl to avoid falling to 1-3 in the Super Bowl. This Broncos team wanted it badly and their play showed. Call me old-fashioned, but I have never been a fan of the “dab”.

Cam Newton goes through his pre-snap progressions

Cam Newton goes through his pre-snap progressions

First Quarter

The broncos looked good from the very beginning both offensively and defensively. After winning the toss, the Panthers decided to kick which proved to be costly. The Denver offense began the day looking crisp and sharp. Manning threw two beautiful passes to set the offense in motion, which were then followed by solid runs from Running Back C.J. Anderson. The Bronco offense continued to march down the field, but were eventually stopped and forced to only a field goal. In the Panthers first drive, the Bronco defense held them to a total of 9 yards therefore forcing a 3-and-out punt. The rhetoric remained the same for the Broncos who also fell victim to stingy defense, and also punted. The Panthers second drive did not go the way they had hoped. Pinned back within their own 20 yard line, Cam Newton dropped back for a pass and was strip sacked by DE/OLB Von Miller. Defensive Tackle Malik Jackson also caused pressure on the play and was therefore in great position to scoop up the football and take it to the end zone giving the Broncos a 10-0 lead.

Jonathan Stewart scores Carolinas only touchdown of the game

Jonathan Stewart scores Carolinas only touchdown of the game

Second Quarter

In a drive that started late in the first quarter, the Carolina Panthers began to find some rhythm on the offensive side of the ball. Crisp passes from Quarterback Cam Newton as well as solid runs from Running Back Jonathan Stewart characterized this scoring drive as Stewart dove over the pile for a one yard rushing touchdown. Play on both sides of the ball became very sloppy during this quarter of the game. Penalty flags flew across the field on seemingly every play. Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties were the most common call as players from both sides tried to land cheap shots on each other. The rest of the half featured two punts by each team, a Denver Field Goal, a Carolina Fumble, and a Carolina Interception moments after the Panthers fumbled the ball. Carolina failed to convert at crucial times during the first half. Unfortunately for Carolina fans, the trend continued in the second half.

Denver Kicker Brandon McManus nails a field goal during the second quarter of Super Bowl 50

Denver Kicker Brandon McManus nails a field goal during the second quarter of Super Bowl 50

Third Quarter

Perhaps the worst moment of Super Bowl 50 happened in the third quarter when Carolina Kicker Graham Gano hit the goal post on an attempted field goal. After this moment, the Panthers began to deflate. Carolina’s other two possessions during the third quarter led to an interception and a punt. Denver managed to capitalize of Carolina’s mistakes by adding a field goal to the scoreboard therefore stretching the lead to 9 points. Denver could have however, capitalized even more off of Carolina’s sloppy and uncharacteristic play. Denver punted the ball once and turned the ball over as well in the quarter. In all my years as a Football fan, I have never seen as many missed opportunities and personal fouls as I saw in this football game. You also have to credit the Bronco pass-rush. All throughout the playoffs this unit pressured the Quarterback like nobody’s business. Suffice to say, they continued the trend in Super Bowl 50.

Von Miller forces a second Cam Newton fumble

Von Miller forces a second Cam Newton fumble

Fourth Quarter:

The fourth quarter remained a one way affair. The Denver Defense maintained continuous pressure on the Cam Newton while the Carolina offense struggled to find and establish its identity. The Panthers started the quarter off well with a field goal following the Denver fumble. However, they couldn’t find a rhythm after this and punted in two of their other three possessions while fumbling in the other. The Broncos however, slowed the game down to a crawl. They ran the ball with frequency and managed to score a touchdown late in the fourth. While it wasn’t the prettiest of quarters for the Broncos. they managed to stop every Carolina attack while scoring just enough points to make the game out of reach for the Panthers.

Manning celebrates a late Fourth Quarter touchdown

Manning celebrates a late Fourth Quarter touchdown

It comes down to this: both offenses were mediocre. The defenses won the game for the Broncos. Not a single passing touchdown was thrown in this super bowl. That speaks volumes as to what kind of a game this truly was. I thoroughly expected a more exciting game but was nonetheless entertained by the stellar play by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller.

Manning wears the Championship Hat for the second time

Manning wears the Championship Hat for the second time

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