SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 to claim their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in the franchise’s eighth trip to the Super Bowl. Here’s a report card of the Broncos' performance.
PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus
Make no mistake about it, there is little, if any, zip left on Peyton Manning’s passes. But a man has to know his limitations, and Manning knew when to take his shots. He finished with just 141 yards through the air, on 13-of-23 passing, with one interception.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B
C.J. Anderson added just enough on the ground, pounding out a 34-yard scamper in the first half, to keep the Panthers' defense honest and not allow it to simply pin its ears back and bull rush Manning. Anderson had 90 yards on the ground.
PASSING DEFENSE: B-plus
The No-Fly Zone secondary basically kept Cam Newton in check, and some horrid drops, whether caused by the Broncos' DBs or not, were telling. Cornerback Aqib Talib’s two early personal-foul penalties -- taunting and face mask -- preceded an offside flag, and he probably could have been flagged for a neutral-zone infraction on Carolina’s missed field goal attempt.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
The Broncos' defensive line and linebackers dictated the pace and tone of the game, although the Panthers did gain 118 yards on the ground. And it was the strip-sack of Newton by Von Miller and touchdown recovery by Malik Jackson that set the stage for Miller and his second strip-sack.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Place-kicker Brandon McManus converted three field goals and was 10-for-10 in the playoffs, the most without a miss in postseason history.
Gary Kubiak’s game plan -- keep Manning out of harm’s way and let the defense win the game -- was a master stroke. Then again, it has worked since Manning returned from injury.