Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defense leads Broncos over Panthers in Super Bowl

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware brings down Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the second half for one of the Broncos’ six sacks in the game, one shy of tying the Super Bowl record.

Associated Press

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware brings down Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in the second half for one of the Broncos’ six sacks in the game, one shy of tying the Super Bowl record.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Von Miller and the rest of the Broncos' dominant defense realized the only way to ditch their doubters was to bring home the silver ball from the Golden Gate City.

There's no denying Denver now.

The Lombardi Trophy is headed back to Denver, thanks to a defense that hammered Panthers quarterback Cam Newton like he'd never been hit and hounded the rest of the Panthers into bobbles, bumbles and fumbles in a 24-10 beatdown that was epic and classic.

Six sacks.

Four takeaways.

Any more questions?

The Broncos finished first in the NFL in sacks, yards per play, pass defense and total defense this season. But all anyone seemed to be talking about in the leadup to Super Bowl 50 was Newton's dances and dabs and the Panthers' "Thieves Ave." secondary after it piled up 48 takeaways, including nine in the playoffs.

"I'm telling you, we don't get no respect," Denver cornerback Chris Harris said 72 hours before the Broncos got the chance to change all that.

Former Bucs and current Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said: "We got goal boards in our locker room, and we see everything that we've done this year. But everything will be forgotten by next season if we don't come home with that trophy."

Five years after being drafted No. 2 behind Newton, Denver linebacker Von Miller harassed Carolina's quarterback from start to finish, forcing two fumbles, compiling 21/2 sacks and earning MVP honors.

"I'm so proud of my guys," Miller said, clutching the silver Lombardi Trophy. "It's been every last one of you guys in the locker room that's gotten us to this moment right here."

Miller created Denver's first touchdown by zooming past right tackle Mike Remmers and breaking in on Newton to rip the ball away from the QB, who was honored as the regular-season MVP on Saturday night.

The fumble bounced into the end zone, where defensive end Malik Jackson landed on it to put the Broncos ahead 10-0 about 81/2 minutes into the game.

With the Panthers trailing 16-10 late in the fourth quarter, Newton was strip-sacked by Miller. With the ball bouncing on the field, Newton had a chance to jump into the fray to recover it but instead pulled up and didn't dive for the ball. It squirted away and was recovered by Broncos safety T.J. Ward. Four plays, C.J. Anderson scored the clinching touchdown.

At his postgame news conference, Newton sat at the podium for 3:15 and gave short answers to questions.

"We dropped balls, we turned the ball over, gave up sacks, threw errant passes," Newton said.

At one point, he said, "I don't know what you want me to say. I'm sorry."

As a reporter asked if Newton was disappointed for his teammates considering how close they'd become this year, Newton shook his head, said "I'm out of here," and walked off the stage.

Miller, showing his versatility, even made plays in pass coverage, dropping back to force an incompletion from Newton to Jerricho Cotchery at one point.

It was all part of quite a display by Miller and the rest of Denver's defense, making the NFC champion Panthers and their No. 1-ranked offense look mediocre at best. DeMarcus Ware added two sacks and two tackles for loss.

Defense leads Broncos over Panthers in Super Bowl 02/07/16 [Last modified: Sunday, February 7, 2016 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'


    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.