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Broncos’ ‘D’ smothers Panthers


SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Peyton Manning gave himself a chance to have “Super” ending to his career, and Von Miller and the Denver defence made the plays to secure the title for the Broncos.

Manning and Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton were harassed all game yesterday, but the Broncos made enough big plays for the 24-10 victory—Manning’s 200th and perhaps his last before retirement.

He wasn’t the star —game MVP Miller seemingly was everywhere on every Carolina play—but Manning really hasn’t been the headliner in this injury-shortened season.

Emulating his Broncos’ boss, John Elway, the 39-year-old Manning can ride off with the Lombardi Trophy after leading Denver to its third NFL title—but first since 1999 when Elway was the quarterback.

“I’ll take some time to reflect,” Manning said when asked if Super Bowl 50 is the end.

“I got a couple priorities first,” he noted. “I’m going to go kiss my wife and my kids. . . .

“I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight. Take care of those things first.”

Denver’s suffocating defence kept Newton jittery all day. Despite wearing gold shoes before the golden Super Bowl, Newton couldn’t finish off a dynamic season in which he was the league’s MVP.

Miller twice stripped him—once for a touchdown, the second time setting up a clinching TD.

Denver’s top-ranked defence, the one that ran roughshod over Tom Brady in the AFC championship, simply wouldn’t let Newton get comfortable.

Newton was sacked six times. And if Miller wasn’t torturing him, DeMarcus Ware was.

Ware had two of the seven sacks (receiver Ted Ginn Jr. also went down once on an aborted trick play)—the most ever by one team in the Super Bowl.

Carolina’s potent offence that led the NFL with 500 points was held to its fewest points of the season while Denver set an ignominious mark with 194 yards gained, the fewest for a Super Bowl winner.

So what: the Broncos (15-4) are champions and Manning is the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two franchises (Indianapolis in 2007 was the other).

Manning finished 13-for-23 for 141 yards against a strong defence of Carolina (17-2) that just couldn’t match Miller and company.

“This game was much like this season has been, testing our toughness, our resiliency, our unselfishness,” Manning said.

“It’s only fitting that it turned out that way.

“I feel very, very grateful,” he added.

“Obviously, it’s very special to cap it off with a Super Bowl championship.”

Denver’s defence stole Carolina’s act. The Panthers led the league with 39 takeaways and were a plus-20 in turnovers.

On the Super Bowl stage, though, Assistant Coach of the Year Wade Phillips got his first ring because his unit was impenetrable.

It was a far cry from two years ago, when the Broncos were routed by Seattle 43-8.

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