San Francisco - Peyton
Manning cemented his place in the pantheon of quarterback greats as the
Denver Broncos produced a magnificent defensive display to stun the
Carolina Panthers with an upset 24-10 victory in Super Bowl 50 here on
Manning, 39, sealed the second Super Bowl title of his 18-year
National Football League career on the back of a phenomenal display by
the Denver defence, who racked up a record-equalling seven sacks at
"I'm just glad we didn't have to play against our defense," said a
delighted Manning, the NFL's all-time passing yards record holder.
Denver running back C.J Anderson crashed over for the decisive
touchdown late in the fourth quarter as the Broncos defense harried
Panthers superstar quarterback Cam Newton into a string of mistakes on a
night of high drama.
The much-anticipated duel between Manning - the oldest starting
quarterback in Super Bowl history - and NFL Most Valuable Player Newton
Instead it was left to Denver's suffocating defence to decide the
contest, with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware smothering the Panthers at
Panthers superstar Newton, who had been tipped to dominate in his first Super Bowl appearance, cut a dejected figure afterwards.
"They just played better than us," Newton said. "I don't know what you want me to say...we got outplayed."
Miller - named Super Bowl MVP - ultimately set up the crucial
Denver touchdown, forcing Newton into a fumble which the Broncos
recovered close to the Carolina goal line.
"It was tough offensively but defensively we were tremendous," Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said.
"It was just another grind-it-out win."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera blamed a failure to make scoring opportunities count.
"We had opportunities, we didn't take advantage of it," Rivera said. "They took advantage of their opportunities. We didn't."
Manning was largely a peripheral figure throughout, struggling to
make any impression with his passing game as defenses dominated.
The veteran quarterback is widely expected to call time on his career
at the end of the season, and can now do so with a second Super Bowl
ring to set alongside the one he earned with the Indianapolis Colts in
"It's very special, I'm very proud of these guys," said Manning, who
said he was unwilling to make a decision about his future plans in the
heat of the moment.
"I'll take some time to reflect," he said. "It's been an emotional week and it's an emotional night."
An absorbing first half saw defenses exert a vice-like grip, with Denver's vaunted unit rattling the Carolina offense.
Denver took a 3-0 lead through a 34-yard Brandon McManus field goal
after Manning mounted one of his few long-distance drives of the game
Denver soon had Carolina under pressure and scored the opening
touchdown when Miller swarmed through to smother Newton, stripping the
ball loose and allowing Malik Jackson to recover for a dramatic
touchdown for 10-0.
Newton showed glimpses of his dual threat with a couple of long
rushes to set up a one-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Stewart to help
make it 10-7 after Graham Gano added the extra point.
Denver went 13-7 up with
another McManus field goal before Carolina spurned the chance to draw
closer when Gano missed a 44-yard effort.
It was left for Denver to get the first points on the board in the
second half, with Manning twice connecting with Emmanuel Sanders in a
54-yard drive to Carolina's 12-yard line. McManus added his third field
goal to make it 16-7 and give Denver a nine-point lead.
Carolina looked to be building ominous momentum on the next drive,
when Newton launched a long pass to find Corey Brown for a 42-yard
But the drive ended when Newton's attempt to find Teddy Ginn was intercepted by Broncos safety T.J. Ward.
Denver were unable to make any impression on the Carolina defense and
seemed to be content to punt again knowing that the Panthers were
getting little joy from the Broncos defense.
The tactic proved vindicated on the next Carolina drive, which
stalled when Miller sacked Newton for the second time in the match.
But Denver's own offense was always struggling to capitalise on their
opponent's problems, and they squandered a 1st and 10 situation on
Carolina's 37-yard line when Manning twice fumbled on successive plays
to hand the ball back to the Panthers who reduced the deficit to 16-10
with a Gano field goal.
Yet once again Denver's defense came through when it mattered, and
when Miller forced Newton into his late fumble, Denver were home.