By Brian Snow
Man, what a Super Bowl. Every bit the defensive battle.
The offenses did enough to win, but the defenses on both teams showed out. And before the big game, I predicted that a defensive play would decide the game. And I was right.
However, I didn’t expect the defensive play to decide the game to occur in the game’s first stanza.
Denver was up 3-0 and Carolina was into their second possession. Newton had already been rattled by Denver’s top-ranked defense as they forced the Panthers into a three-and-out. Newton, with the first possession out of the way seemed poised to take his team downfield.
Then this happened
Broncos’ LB Von Miller flew in from Newton’s right and forced a fumble that Malik Jackson recovered in the end zone and extended the Denver advantage to 10-0 as the first quarter wound down.
That’s all that was needed. The Panthers’ drum-pounding was effectively silenced.
And Cam Newton was effectively tortured against that savage Denver Defense.
Let ol’ Snowman bring some numbers.
In 46 dropbacks, Newton was hit 13 times, sacked seven times, turned the ball over four times (two interceptions, two fumbles) and was constantly hurried. The Panthers never got a chance to run their offense effectively.
Miller’s strip sack set the tone for the rest of the game. Denver was methodical on offense and an absolute terror on defense. Carolina never could get their feet under them.
Despite having three field goals and that one touchdown, Denver only led 13-7 at the intermission. But didn’t you get the feeling that it would be enough?
I certainly did.
In the second half it was more of the same. The only thing that got pounded was Carolina. The score won’t show it, but the hits, the harassment that Newton took in the pocket – and out of it for that matter – and the defense for the Broncos seemed to be getting stronger as the game got longer.
The game was decided by a defensive play. It was clinched by another one from the same man. The five-year veteran from Texas A&M Late in the fourth quarter fought off a block, dipped his shoulder, kept his balance and caused his second fumble and the 4th Panther turnover of the game.
That turnover was turned into a Super Bowl-clinching touchdown to punctuate the 24-10 win and the third World Championship for the team “United in Orange”
I’ll throw one more stat at you guys before I leave. There were nine penalties committed in the second half – all nine were by Carolina.
Game. Set. Match.
No doubt that Newton and the Panthers will be back next year, but this night belonged to Denver. And that’s the bottom line, because the Orange Crush said so.
That’s Snowman’s Take. What’s yours?
Editor’s Note: Brian Snow is CEO of Arena Sports Network, a content-sharing partner of INSCMagazine