By Ron Griffitts
On February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the Denver Broncos (14-4) coached by Gary Kubiak with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison met the Carolina Panthers (17-1) coached by Ron Rivera with offensive coordinator Mike Shula, whose brother Dave had formerly coached the Bengals and was the son of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.
Carolina was led by quarterback Cam Newton who passed for 3837 yards and 35 touchdowns with a 99.4 passer rating and ran for 636 yards for 10 touchdowns, he was involved in 45 of the Panthers’ TD’s.
They were led in rushing by Jonathan Stewart (989 yards, 6 TD’s) and in receiving by Greg Olson (1104, 7 TD’s) and former Ohio State star Ted Ginn, Jr. (739 yards, 10 TD’s).
On defense they were led by Luke Kuechly with 76 tackles and Thomas Davis with 75, Kawann Sort with 11 sacks and Kurt Coleman with 7 interceptions. Their place kicker was Graham Gano who converted on 30 of 36 field goal attempts.
The Broncos were led by 39-year old Peyton Manning playing in the last of his seventeen year NFL career who was playing about half of the season passed for 2249 yards with 9 TD’s but 17 interceptions as he had been bothered by injuries.
They were led in rushing by Ronnie Hillman (863, 7 TD’s) and C. J. Anderson (720 yards, 5 TD’s), and in receiving by Emmanuel Sanders (1135, 6 TD’s) and Demaryius Thomas (1304 yards, 6 TD’s).
Their defense was led by Brandon Marshall with 77 tackles, Danny Trevathan with 73 tackles and Von Miller with 11 sacks. Their field goal kicker was Brandon McManus who made 30 of 35 field foal attempts.
Denver got on the board first with a Brandon McManus 34-yard field goal and Denver led 3-0. Later in the first quarter at his own 15-yard line, Cam Newton was sacked by Von Miller who also forced a fumble which was recovered in the end zone by Malik Jackson for a touchdown and the extra point was good and Denver jumped into the lead 10-0.
In the second quarter starting at his own 27-yard line, Cam Newton marched his team downfield culminating in a touchdown by Jonathan Stewart on a one-yard run. The extra point was good and the score is 10-7 in favor of Denver.
Later in the second quarter, Brandon McManus kicked a 33-yard field goal and the teams went into their locker rooms with Denver leading 13-7.
The only score in the third quarter was another field goal by Brandon McManus, this time for 30 yards and Denver leads 16-7.
In the fourth quarter, Graham Gano kicked a 39-yard field goal for Carolina to bring the Panthers within one score at 16-10 but later in the quarter Von Miller again sacked Cam Newton. This time at the Carolina 25-yard line, he forced a fumble with T. J. Ward recovering and returning the ball to the Carolina 4-yard line. Five plays later, C. J. Anderson ran the ball in from the two-yard line for a score.
The two-point conversion was successful from Manning to Bennie Fowler making the score 24-10 in favor of the Broncos, which proved to be the final score as the Denver Broncos won their third Super Bowl title.
Von Miller got the game MVP and while neither the Broncos nor the Panthers have been back to the Super Bowl, Von Miller was back last year with the Los Angeles Rams.
Peyton Manning retired with 71,940 lifetime passing yards and 539 touchdowns, both third all-time behind Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
Statistics for this article were from pro-football-reference.com.