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Broncos 'D' steals show vs. Panthers at Super Bowl 50

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They were supposed to be facing their greatest challenge of this season, the NFL’s unstoppable quarterback, the face of football for the next decade.

And all the Denver Broncos did was make him look completely mortal, continuing a stunning run that could have them mentioned as one of the finest defensive units in the history of the game.

So much for the Carolina Panthers’ Super Cam. On Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium, it was Broncos linebacker Von Miller who took center stage in Super Bowl 50, piling up 2.5 sacks, forcing one fumble and spearheading a defensive effort that had Cam Newton’s head spinning in a24-10 Broncos victory.

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Von Miller sacks Cam Newton 2.5 times and forces two fumbles.David J. Phillip/AP

Von Miller sacks Cam Newton 2.5 times and forces two fumbles.

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Why did Peyton Manning get to go out on top? It was almost purely because of the Broncos’ stunning defense, a unit that again turned one of the NFL’s finest quarterbacks into a mere mortal. On a night when Manning made few plays (again), the Broncos defense carried an offense that managed 194 yards, making big play after big play.

“I’m so proud of my guys,” Miller said. “We’re gonna celebrate this one all summer.”

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The Broncos forced three turnovers, holding a Carolina team that had totaled 80 points in its last two games to a mere 10 points, and they did it behind a pass rush that sacked Newton seven times and hit him another 13 times.

“These are the kind of things you can’t do,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the turnovers. “Especially (against) a defense as productive as they are, they made a lot of things happen.”

The Broncos spent the playoffs being QB Kryptonite. Two weeks ago, Denver turned Tom Brady, arguably the finest quarterback of his generation, into a flustered mess who threw two interceptions for the second time all season. Sunday night, the Broncos were facing a very different signal-caller in Newton, a mobile, versatile monster of a quarterback who took the league by storm this season.

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Miller strips the ball from Newton again in the fourth quarter which sets up the game-sealing touchdown from C.J. Anderson.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Miller strips the ball from Newton again in the fourth quarter which sets up the game-sealing touchdown from C.J. Anderson.

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Except the Broncos were having none of it. For the first time all season, Newton didn’t throw a TD or run one in, and he was harassed into three turnovers, an interception and a pair of fumbles. The first fumble came with 6:27 left in the first quarter, when DeMarcus Ware and Miller rushed Newton deep in his own zone, the ball squirted free, and defensive end Malik Jackson pounced on it in the end zone for a touchdown that made it 10-0.

And it was Miller who essentially sealed the game with 4:04 to play when, on third-and-9 from the Carolina 25, he rushed Newton, pressed him up into the pocket and slapped the ball loose again. Safety T.J. Ward recovered, which set up C.J. Anderson’s game-sealing TD run.

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Tags:
von miller ,
demarcus ware ,
malik jackson ,
cam newton ,
denver broncos ,
carolina panthers ,
nfl ,
nfl playoffs ,
super bowl

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